By Konde, Pamela Sosne
Nation's Cities Weekly , Vol. 25, No. 40
The Community and Economic Development (CED) Steering Committee drafted policy on economic development, affordable housing and the Community Development Block Grant for consideration at the Congress of Cities during its fall meeting in Laramie, Wyo., last month.
The steering committee, chaired by Prairie Village, Ken., Council Member Ruth Hopkins, also completed the process of reorganizing and streamlining the CED chapter of the National Municipal Policy. Laramie Council Member Trudy McCraken hosted the committee.
In light of the "hodge-podge" of federal economic development programs, the committee drafted policy that supported federal economic development programs that are (1) flexible; (2) less burdensome to use through a streamlined process with a standard application and fewer eligibility variances; (3) directly funded to cities; and (4) reliable and timely.
These programs should aid cities in the attraction, retention and growth of local business.
The committee also drafted policy to aid local communities affected by international trade. The committee discussed the economic changes in certain regions, based or the loss of a major industry, such as textiles and steel.
If a local community's economy is negatively affected because the United States agrees to be a party to a particular international agreement, that local community should receive "trade assistance" to subsidize the loss of tax revenue, aid unemployed workers and/or to attract new investments.
The steering committee drafted policy on a variety of housing-related topics, such as rehabilitation of current housing, effects of gentrification, mold prevention and remediation, affordable housing for senior citizens, provision of a permanent source of funding for affordable housing and the relationship between housing and welfare policy.
Members also voted to incorporate two CED resolutions into standing policy on housing: one on housing laws and local zoning authority and the other supporting a federal production program for affordable housing.
Community Development Block Grant
The committee reviewed the NLC policy pertaining to the important Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The committee drafted policy related to two current proposals. The committee opposed a Bush Administration proposal that would alter the current CDBG distribution formula to reduce the size of grants to communities with per capita incomes more than two times the national average. …