Sunday, May 04, 2008

Moving forward

Some folks may be a little puzzled by my forum in that they'll think it was a change of opinion for me regarding the funding of both the East Athens Development Corporation and the Hancock Corridor Development Corporation. In actuality, it's more of a compromise put forward that I hope people will accept as a good faith effort to move beyond the misguided and polarizing debate that has been swirling around this particular vote.

I felt that maintaining funding for both ACTION, Inc. and Dudley Park was necessary because it will introduce more competition for funding into these census tracts, hopefully spurring all interested parties to be efficient in service delivery. But reintroducing a small amount of funding for both EADC and HCDC was important to me not only for the fact that it will show a positive step forward to address the concerns of some, but also in the sense that it focuses the designated money into specific areas of need.

Some might ask why I didn't opt for housing counseling, and the primary reason is through conversations with past and present employees at both organizations - particularly EADC - housing counseling is actually a small portion of the pie (roughly $30,000) and can be/is maintained by outside grants. This means the crux of the concerns rests with the efficiency of economic development and neighborhood revitalization by the two groups. Seeing how ACTION, Inc. will be funded to repair homes and meet the neighborhood revitalization angle, a smaller amount of money targeted for use only in those census tracts toward micro-loans, economic development, etc. puts the burden on EADC and HCDC to perform.

My suggestion ain't perfect, and I'd be curious to hear yours, but what I wanted to do was offer a positive step foward rather than dwell on the existing discussion which served no one.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is that the commission should reward two ineffective agencies for their ability to play the race card? I think reversing the decision would be a huge mistake and would send a message to those in need of services that the county doesn't really care whether you are helped or not.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

I don't necessarily think cutting the agencies' requested funding by more than 60 percent and strapping on specified regulations on how the funding is spent isn't 'rewarding' them, but perhaps I'm wrong on that front.

And this is hardly 'reversing the decision' because for that to happen, full funding would have to be awarded to EADC and HCDC. That isn't likely to happen and is something I would oppose. My suggestion, however, is an attempt to make sure funding is directed toward those census tracts in a responsible way.

And if EADC and HCDC don't produce, then they should have their funding stripped completely next year and redirected toward ACTION or other groups which can offer better services.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

... on how the funding is spent isn't 'rewarding' them, but perhaps I'm wrong on that front.

Naturally, I mean 'is rewarding' ...

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you're advocating for $80,000 of hush money. Not something most folks would support I bet.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

Looks like you're advocating for $80,000 of hush money. Not something most folks would support I bet.

Or I'm advocating for reduced funding for a pair of agencies that have received larger sums in the past yet, due to inefficient performance, will receive less money and zero funding the following year unless they get their acts together.

'Good faith' is a concept lost on y'all, isn't it?

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$6 million over 10 years is a lot of good faith that hasn't been returned. How much more good faith should we extend?

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Cathi said...

I'd like to see a small amount of funding provided for EADC to develop a new Neighborhood Revitalization Plan. I'm pretty sure this is required by HUD and the one they have now is very out-of-date.
That could guide future funding and be used to set benchmarks.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

A step down is a nice gesture...and it wouldn't hurt if they took it as a wake-up call.

Still, as someone who's been involved in a lot of local non-profits, I think we need to think more about what we want to achieve with our local non-profits.

Most have too few board members with too little expertise, and face various avoidable challenges (usually fiscal or performance) as a result. At the same time, for whatever reason non-profits are currently providing a lot of services that might otherwise be provided by the government, to the extent that for all practical purposes they are the government.

There are all kinds of challenges in the final sentence of the paragraph above -- I suppose what I'm getting at is that the arrangement needs to be at least in accordance with general business standards and equitable, and it needs to serve the needs of all parties. Is the current arrangement serving all parties? Evidently not.

10:11 AM  

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