Block Grant Cuts Force City of Erie to Find Money for Community Policing
The City of Erie faces a cut in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money that was earmarked for community policing, even though it is among Mayor Joe Schember's top priorities.
Mayor Schember told Erie News Now Sunday a shift in federal policy means the city is not allowed to put as much of that block grant money into general fund programs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently notified the city it is dropping from 22.6 percent to just 16 percent.
Starting July 1, the city needs to find other ways to pay for community policing. His team proposed shifting funds away from the city's neighborhood centers but the mayor said no.
They will have to find it in savings across other city departments.
"What's going to happen is there are areas of the budget where probably we're not going to spend what's in there, so that money can be shifted over," said Mayor Schember. "We'll still spend the money on community policing, but it'll basically come from a different source. For example, the solicitor's department changes are saving a lot of money, so we'll be able to move some funds from there over to community policing."
Out of $350,000 the city had budgeted for community policing, now only $61,000 will come from the federal block grant funding. The city will have to find the rest.