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Ventura County News Roundup

PORT HUENEME : Council to Dip Into Housing Funds


With several of its community services threatened by budget cuts, the Port Hueneme City Council has voted to dip into federal housing rehabilitation funds to pay for an array of programs normally funded by the local treasury.

Community Development Director Tom Figg requested Wednesday that the council make the "radical departure" from past use of the Community Development Block Grant funds because of state cuts.

"We're creating a shift in emphasis at the expense of housing rehab," Figg said. "The danger is that you can become dependent on this type of intermittent funding."

The council's unanimous vote to allot the $204,000 in block grant money comes as city funds for senior services, graffiti removal, code enforcement and other social programs are dwindling, Figg said.

The plan hinges on whether federal Housing and Urban Development officials will grant the city a waiver to use the money to fund such services. Figg said he expects a response within six weeks.

The council voted to allot $30,000 of the CDBG money for code enforcement, $65,000 for rehabilitation of the city's Boys & Girls Club and $19,000 for graffiti removal. The remainder went to other social services.

"There is a tendency to turn a quick fix into a long-term addiction," Figg added. "We're concerned about that and we'll revisit this issue during next year's budget considerations."

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