River Edge Mulls CDBG Applications
With less funding, the race for Community Development Block Grants will be even tighter in 2012
With cuts to the Community Development Block Grants for 2012, River Edge will face a tough decision ahead of just what exactly they will apply for. Luckily for the borough, there is time to make that decision with an October 5 deadline a few months away.
"The issue we're running into is that funds are being cut ever year," borough liaison James Arakelian said. "When I started eight or nine years ago there was between $8 and $9 million being split between 12 towns. This year, the total is down to $1.2 million."
He added that the exact funding won't be determined until have Congress meets in January or February to decide if they will reallocate funds to the Community Development Block Grants.
In the past, the borough has submitted applications for the senior bus driver and dispatcher's salary and wages, senior citizen activities including SCORE, an ADA compliant circulation desk at the library, and ADA compliant doors to the police station. River Edge will once again seek funding for the bus driver and dispatcher's salary and wages in 2012.
The borough has received an estimated $14,500 for the bus driver's salary and $4,300 for the dispatcher's. The overall driver's salary is approximately $30,000 and the dispatcher receives $10,000 annually.
The Community Development Block Grant funding is divided into three pieces: low income communities, ADA compliance and senior services. Only three municipalities in the area qualify for low income community funding and River Edge is not one of them. Elmwood Park, Hackensack and Garfield are the lone towns to receive low income community grants.
"Every year the River Edge Board of Education submits an application as well," Arakelian said. "So every year you are running against the Board of Education as well. If the borough decided it wanted to renovate a bathroom in borough hall to be ADA compliant and the schools wanted to do the same, only one of you would get funding."
One possiblity for grant funding would be to replace the senior bus that was taken out of commission earlier this spring due to poor maintenance. The 2001 Ford bus was primarily purchased through a Community Development Block Grant for $48,000 with the borough contributing a portion of funds several years ago.
"In the past we applied for and received money for a senior bus," Councilman Alphonse Bartelloni said. "Before we do that again I think we should look into whether there is a need for the second bus or are we operating just fine with the one."
The borough had acquired a second bus in 2010 as a back-up for when the 2001 bus was out of service for maintenance repairs but now the newer bus is the primary mode of transporation for seniors on an as-needed basis.
The governing body will continue discussing what they would like to seek a Community Development Block Grant for over the summer other than the senior bus driver and dispatcher salaries and wages.