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Posted: 02/20/13

Romeo approves of
$90,000 in CDBG funds

Observer Staff Writer
      The Village Board of Trustees voted to contribute just over half of its federal dollars to paving local streets.
       The board voted 6-0 to distribute $90,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, with one half going to local streets and just under half dedicated to local non-profit organizations.
       Trustee Mike Cregar was not present for the Feb. 11 meeting.
       CDBG funds are passed down from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to Macomb County, which it then disperses to local communities. The communities then decide on how to divvy up the funds.
       Unlike previous years, the communities received three year's worth of funding to use instead of one year.
       The largest portion of the funds, $51,920, was set aside for paving local streets. Village Clerk Marian McLaughlin said the money would be used for small paving projects east of Van Dyke so long as they're local streets.
       "We've got quite a bit," she said.
       This is the first year the village didn't set aside CDBG funds for its manhole rehabilitation project, which aims to repair manholes to reduce the amount of storm water entering the sanitation plant.
       "The manhole rehab project is about 90 percent complete," McLaughlin said.
       The village also set aside $7,000 for removing blight in the village.
       When considering non-profit CDBG recipients, the village gave $12,000 to the Samaritan House. Ann Tomlanovich, development coordinator for Samaritan House, said the funds would support basic needs programs for the non-profit, such as food and utility assistance.
       "Each month, Samaritan House serves 550 individuals, we provide three meals a day for a 10 to 14 day period," she said.
       A Beautiful Me, a local non-profit that works to build the esteem of women, received $2,580 from the village. This is the second year the program has received county funding.
       A request from the Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks and Recreation for $10,000 was withdrawn, with department officials saying the application wouldn't meet county requirements. The money would've funded an LED sign for the senior center.
       Care House, a child advocacy center servicing the county, received $1,000 for providing investigation, prosecution and treatment services to child victims of sexual and physical abuse free of charge.
       Niki Flores, a counselor with Care House, said one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before age 18. The organization assisted two Romeo families in 2012.
       "It's hard to believe how common it is that we only service Macomb County," she said.
       The following were the remaining distributions approved by the Village Council:
       Hope Center in Macomb, $500; MCREST, $2,000; Macomb County Literacy Partners, $2,000; The Macomb County Warming Center, $3,000; Skyline Camp, $2,000; and Macomb Homeless Coalition, $1,000.

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