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WATERLOO — The city will pare down its home rehabilitation program to help improve the Waterloo Boys and Girls Club.

Waterloo City Council members voted unanimously Monday to approve a spending plan for roughly $1.5 million in federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program dollars expected in the next fiscal year.

The debate was whether to support a $30,000 request from the Boys and Girls Club, which was not part of the original recommendation from the Community Development Board.

After a lengthy discussion, council members chose to support the Boys and Girls Club, which was seeking $90,000 over three years as part of a pending capital fundraising campaign to upgrade the facility on Lime Street in the Walnut Neighborhood.

The $30,000 comes out of the recommended $394,000 originally proposed for the Community Development Board’s program to fix up dilapidated housing for lower-income owners. That likely means one less home is repaired next year.

“In light of the comprehensive project that’s going on in the Walnut area, I thought it might be a good opportunity to help secure that project,” Community Development Director Rudy Jones said. “(The Boys and Girls Club) is an anchor in that neighborhood.”

Councilmen Pat Morrissey and Tom Lind both voiced reservations about cutting the home rehabiliation program.

“Owner-occupied rehab is sorely needed in this community,” Morrissey said

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Lind preferred supporting the Community Development Board recommendation and said it was unfair after other nonprofit agencies were cut from the budget.

“That’s not your core business, funding nonprofit agencies,” Lind said. “Your core business is rehabilitating low-income housing.”

Waterloo is an entitlement city that receives CDBG and HOME grants annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help low income neighborhoods. The budget anticipates a 5 percent cut this year, even though the initial budget proposal from President Donald Trump would eliminate the grants.

“It seems like we’re still in a trend of reduced funding over the past five to 10 years but we try to make the best use of the dollars we get,” Jones said.

In other business, council members:

Tabled a request for tax breaks to support a Kwik Star convenience store and car wash near the U.S. Highway 20 and Ansborough Avenue interchange. Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson said more information was needed.

Unanimously approved a $7.7 million contract with Aspro Inc. of Waterloo to reconstruct and resurface portions of 17 city streets this year using local option sales tax revenue.

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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