Bowling Green seeks public opinion on how to fund city with CARES Act allocations

accounting/tax/finances/money

Cassady Lamb

Bowling Green received $385,212 in coronavirus relief funds coming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which was enacted on March 26.

The city is now looking for the public’s input on where the funds should be spent.

A public hearing will be held virtually on Thursday in order to let Bowling Green residents propose their ideas on where to spend the funds.

Community proposals on where to allocate the funds will continue until May 4.

The funds come from Community Development Block Grants provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The CDBG Entitlement Program provides annual grants on a formula basis to entitled cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons,” according to HUD’s informational website.

John Gibbs, HUD’s Community and Planning Development assistant secretary, released a memorandum on April 9 titled “CARES Act Flexibilities for CDBG Funds Used to Support Coronavirus Response and plan amendment waiver” for all CDBG and CDBG-CV Grantees and All CPD Field Office Directors for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. 

The memorandum urges all states and localities to not wait to apply for their allocations. It grants a waiver for plan amendments including instructions on how grantees can submit an amendment for allocated CDBG coronavirus response funds.

The city was eligible to receive this additional grant funding because it has been a recipient of previous funding since 2003, according to the city’s website.

Since 2003 the city has received CDBG funding in order to address housing needs and development across Bowling Green. The city currently receives an estimated $500,000 to $600,000 annually from HUD. 

The city uses 80% of annual funding for neighborhood improvements, and the remaining funds are used for the Fair Housing Activities and general program administration.

So far, the city has been using the CDBG funds for neighborhood improvement efforts around Bowling Green but are open to finding different ways to allocate new funds that will help in a more immediate way.

News reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @lambp0p.