Community development grants at risk in budget battle

By Brandon Richards - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, La (KPLC-TV) –The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury approved a resolution on Thursday asking Louisiana's congressional delegation to vote to keep Community Development Block Grant  (CDBG) funding at current levels.

This comes weeks after Republicans in the U.S. House proposed $60 billion in cuts to the federal budget, slashing CDBG funding by $2.5 billion, or more than 60 percent.

CDBG grants are used by local governments to pay for community development projects, such as public housing, sewer lines and parks.  For example, the popular Lakefront Promenade in downtown Lake Charles was built using $4 million in CDBG money.

Calcasieu Parish Police Jurors said major cuts to the grants would have a detrimental impact on the parish.

"For them to cut this, is going to hurt our parish," said Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Hal McMillan. "We want to make sure they understand the importance of these grants coming locally."

"It's very important to Calcasieu Parish in many ways," added Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Sandra Treme. "I just hope and pray they can hold this to the current levels."

Unlike the City of Lake Charles, the parish must compete with other governments for its CDBG money.

"We do know it's going to have a devastating effect on us, Calcasieu Parish, if we don't get it," said Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Elizabeth Griffin.

Whether community grants get cut depends on the outcome of the budget debate in Washington, D.C.

Republicans and Democrats agreed on a two-week spending measure to keep the government operating.

The debate over the budget resumes after March 18th, when the fate of community development grants could be decided.

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