Livingston County has received grant funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. These grants are provided by HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a federal agency. These funds were distributed from HUD to the State of Michigan, and then on to Livingston County.
The CDBG Program provides financial assistance to citizens in need. In Livingston County, the CDBG grants were used for emergency repairs and rehabilitation projects for low-income homeowners.
As with any grant-funded program, the CDBG program has many rules and reporting requirements which help ensure the money is spent appropriately. Regrettably, our county failed to meet all of the requirements and is legally obligated to return approximately $77,000.
The return of $77,000 in grant funding required a vote of the Board of Commissioners, and Resolution 2019-07-101 was presented to the Board to authorize this return. As this issue was debated, I voiced my strong displeasure that we were having to return grant funds which were targeted to help poor and middle-income citizens of our county. I wanted to know how this happened, and more importantly, what we would do differently to prevent this from happening again. As such, I submitted an amendment to Resolution 2019-07-101. The amendment would have required County Administration to “provide the Livingston County Board of Commissioners with a written analysis describing the countermeasures necessary to prevent of reoccurrence of this event in the future.”
What I viewed as an appropriate and reasonable amendment was not viewed that way by a majority on the Board of Commissioners as my amendment was defeated by a vote of 4 to 4.