We send a lot of our money to the federal government in the form of the taxes we pay.
It’s nice to get some of it back.
We got a whole lot of it back last week, when I announced that $2.38 million in federal grants were being awarded to communities throughout Rockland.
Communities and agencies that were eligible and submitted a project got a piece of the pie. We are proud to say that the funds were distributed to all areas of the county, not just a few select communities as was regularly the case before I took office.
Here are some of the projects that the federal grants will help pay for: a playground in Haverstraw, culverts in Kaser, sidewalk improvements in Suffern and Nyack, safer streets in Spring Valley and West Haverstraw.
Many of our community-based organizations also received funding.
Again, we are proud that the funds were shared among groups that help all Rockland residents, from children attending child care centers to older people who receive food deliveries from Meals on Wheels.
These grants will help people with disabilities get commercial cleaner training at Jawonio, first-time home buyers who take a financial education program at the Haitian American Cultural & Social Organization and senior support services through Rockland Jewish Family Service.
Some of the biggest awards went to Catholic Charities, the Center for Safety and Change and the Legal Aid Society of Rockland.
We’re proud to bring this money back to Rockland.
Going forward we will be working with the director of the Rockland County Office of Community Development, Dr. Penny Jennings, to continue to implement changes in the way these federal grants are awarded.
It’s great to hand out money. But it’s even better to reward the people getting the money for spending it wisely.
We are introducing the idea of competition into these grants, which are awarded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
We want to encourage municipalities and agencies that receive these grants – which are funded by the taxpayer – to use the money to make money.
The hope is that the HUD grants will spur development of projects that generate revenue.
Here’s how it will work: an agency that either comes in under budget or returns revenue to the “pot” of available
federal funds will get the first crack at that funding when new projects are approved.
The intention of this incentive to encourage smart spending of taxpayer dollars, and to increase the available pool of money to build the number and scope of projects in the future.
Imagine that – your government expecting recipients to create revenue in exchange for your tax dollars.
It’s a smart idea and we are going to see more projects like this going forward in Rockland.