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Gaughan Proposes Reform of Community Development Block Grant Program

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo mayoral candidate Kevin Gaughan says he wants to put an end to the city's control of the federal block grant program.

Gaughan stood along a vacant lot on Fillmore near Leroy in Buffalo Thursday. He says if elected mayor, he would take the power of approving block grant funding away from the Common Council and the mayor and would, instead, create an independent agency to make funding decisions.

Gaughan says block grant dollars are used for political purposes and pork spending.

"We would no longer use that federal money, which is intended for blocks like this one, to pay salaries and benefits and pensions for City Hall workers," Gaughan said. "Right now, under the Masiello administration, 124 City Hall workers are paid for by block grant funds. That's wrong. It's not good governance. It's not fair to citizens. And I'm going to bring it to an end."

Over the past 30 years, the city has received more than $500 million in federal funds. That money is supposed to be used to combat poverty and to improve housing and neighborhoods.