LAYTON -- City staff members knew this year's Community Development Block Grant would be less than last year's, so they made a tentative action plan with cuts to certain areas. But when they learned the amount would be even lower than expected, they had to make even more difficult decisions.
Those decisions involved giving less to public service agencies, such as The Road Home in Salt Lake City and Family Connection Center in Clearfield.
"It's a huge challenge for them, because every year more and more nonprofits are applying to these CDBG cities for funding, so it's a very arduous task for these city councils to decide which agencies to fund, and I certainly don't envy them," said Celeste Eggert, director of development at The Road Home.
Last year, Layton received close to $372,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development's CDBG. Knowing it would be less this year, Layton planned on receiving $335,840 and made up an action plan.
However, the CDBG grant will end up being $311,196, and the nearly $61,000 difference between this year's grant and last year's is significant.
"It means there are things happening at the federal level to really reduce these grant programs for communities," said Ben Hart, Layton's economic development specialist. "Of course, that in turn has a very dramatic impact on the social service agencies."
Because federal criteria govern the program, allowing cities to give no more than 15 percent of the CDBG grant to social service agencies, Layton is forced to give less to those agencies.
Layton will give $21,528 to the Family Connection Center, but had originally planned to give $22,241.
Layton had also planned to give $9,500 to both Safe Harbor and Utah's Promise and $4,500 to The Road Home and Davis County Homeless. But with the grant being lower than expected, those amounts were reduced to $8,788 to Safe Harbor and Utah's Promise. Layton will give $3,788 to Road Home and $3,787 to Davis County Homeless.
"They don't actually have to give to any social service agencies if they don't want to, so we are extremely grateful," Eggert said. "It may not seem like a lot necessarily to the cities, but for us it's huge funding."
Eggert said it takes just $12 to house one person per night.
Social service agencies were not the only areas in which Layton had to make cuts.
Layton had initially planned to set aside $35,000 for the Home Buyer Assistance program, but that amount has dropped to $20,000. Hart said the Homebuyer Loan Assistance program could better absorb that hit in funding than other programs.
"The other programs are programs that have either started, or we've already put money aside to help leverage resources," Hart said.
Administrative costs dropped from $66,635 to $62,239, while the money to help redevelop Old Downtown is nearly the same as planned.
The amount that will go toward the Old Downtown Rehab Program is staying at $100,000, while the amount for Old Downtown infrastructure projects went down from $63,964 to $62,278.
Hart said the city needs to get Old Downtown off the ground and redeveloped, so it can help support new generations with more jobs and places to live, such as the Kays Crossing project planned for Main Street.
"This is creating economic development," Hart said. "In turn, economic development will create more jobs and also create more tax revenues from businesses relocating into the area and new businesses. The whole area will be supported by the economic development efforts we're making in Old Downtown now."