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posted: 3/21/2014 1:01 AM

Elgin sifts through grant allocation

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The Elgin City Council Wednesday gave the OK to disbursing federal grant money to local nonprofits but postponed making a decision on allocating city riverboat funds.

Community Development Director Marc Mylott said the city expects to receive about $786,000 in community development block grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

No one in the audience made any comments during a public hearing Wednesday night.

The city plans to use $55,801 to administer the grant program and $124,559 for its residential rehabilitation program for low- and moderate-income families, Mylott said.

Grant projects include $40,000 for new ramps and an enclosed walkway for the Association for Individual Development, about $50,000 for roof repairs and HVAC improvements at the Community Crisis Center, and $150,000 in improvements to the aquatics area of the YWCA of Elgin.

Other grant recipients are Ecker Center for Mental Health, Elgin Wayside Center, Hope Fair Housing Center, the Housing Authority of Elgin, PADS of Elgin, Renz Addiction Counseling Center, Senior Services Associates and the Well Child Center.

Councilman Toby Shaw said next year he'd like to use CDBG funding to offset city expenses related to compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Meanwhile, council members postponed disbursing $200,000 in riverboat funds to nonprofit agencies because some council members wanted to increase the $70,000 funding recommended by staff members for the Boys and Girls Club.

City staff initially received 26 requests totaling $525,500 in funding for the riverboat grant money, and sorted through the list to make recommendations to the city council.

That was particularly difficult this year because the grant program was reduced to $200,000 from last year's $250,000, said Cherie Murphy, assistant to the city manager for community engagement. Riverboat revenues have been steadily decreasing over the years.

City staff members presented a list of 10 recommended recipients for riverboat funding: Boys and Girls Club, Food for Greater Elgin, Salvation Army Golden Diners, Ecker Center, Centro de Informacion, United Way of Elgin, Well Child Center, Literacy Connection, Greater Elgin Family Care Center and the YWCA.

Councilman Terry Gavin said the Boys and Girls Club should be getting the full $98,000 it requested.

Councilman John Steffen proposed slightly reducing other grants to allocate more to the club, which was told by a previous city council that the city would pay its mortgage, he said.

"Now we're trying to wean them off the support the city gives them," he said.

The yearly mortgage payment for the 2008 building on Dundee Avenue is about $140,000, Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Cathy Malkani said.

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