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How to spend Urban County Consortium dollars: First of 3 meetings held

Village of Springville

Across much of Erie County, town and village officials are deciding if they want a small piece of the federal dollars flowing through the Erie County Urban County Consortium. A meeting in Springville Tuesday evening was the first of three to talk about the 2020 grant program.

The second meeting on the topic will be Wednesday at the Lackawanna Public Library and the third will be Thursday at the Depew Village Hall.

The grant program is the equivalent of the much larger Community Development Block Grant program in Buffalo and smaller programs in some suburban towns. Springville Village Administrator Liz Melock said the village knows what it wants.

"We actually had our public hearing last night," said Melock, "and our three projects, one's Rural Transit, we always support them. One will be a water line on North Central and a third one will either be another water line or we're actually looking into putting the project together to change our skate park to a concrete park."

Springville Mayor Bill Krebs said the cash helps.

"We've used in the past year CBDG funds to rebuild a well. We have our own water system. We've used CDBG funds to rebuild water lines on our streets. We're looking at a park project, a skateplex that might this coming year be one of our projects," he said.

The village applies for help for three projects every year and usually gets one, paying part of the cost of Springville plans, like a current drinking water well project. The general areas of use are community facilities, housing, economic development and public and human services.

Erie County Environment and Planning Principal Contract Monitor Paul D'Orlando said there will be more cash than expected in the approaching new year for the program, for example, for helping mobile home residents.

"The mobile home program, that income criteria is different. It's the 50% column. It's not nearly as high as 80% of the median income. It's 50% of the median income for those folks and the maximum they can get is $5,000," Orlando said. "Most of what we do for the mobile home program is roof and it's usually between $4,000 and $5,000 is what it costs to do a roof on a mobile home."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.