Local Projects on Hold After HUD Abruptly Pulls Funding

Mar 16, 2015

About a dozen projects in eight Onondaga County towns and villages hang in the balance after the Department of Housing and Urban Development abruptly changed income eligibility requirements.  

Sen. Charles Schumer points to a warning sign near Onondaga Blvd. and Whedon Road in the Town of Onondaga. From left, Town Councilors Donald Hamilton and Charlie Petrie, Sen. Schumer, and Town Supervisor Tom Andino.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
  Senator Chuck Schumer says HUD rescinded about half a million dollars in community development block grants.

 "Don't pull the rug out from under counties, towns, villages that were counting on this money.  Their decision to change their approach was two months after, not before, after these towns and villages were told they had the money.  HUD decided to change the rules in the middle of the game."

 Schumer cited many examples of projects in limbo, including perhaps the most important…a long-awaited solution to an ongoing raw sewage problem on Whedon road in a lower-income area of the Town of Onondaga.  

Onondaga County Legislator Pat Kilmartin represents a good portion of the Town of Onondaga, including the location of the sewage project. 

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

  

"What the town's been doing, advancing engineering plans, quotes, working with the residents, finding a solution.  And now these changes in HUD funding, just like the senator said, it pulls the rug out from underneath the planning.  So, it puts a stop to engineering, puts a stop to the construction, it puts a stop to referendums.  It undercuts all the hard work when we're on the goal line of finishing this project."

 Schumer says he’ll ask the new secretary of HUD to reinstate the funding, and he’ll argue the income eligibility requirements before the agency makes its next allocation.