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Slow pay by feds and state prompts Wayne loan

By David Hulse
January 29, 2014

HONESDALE, PA — Last fall, there was a great deal of talk in Washington, DC about the “good faith and credit” of the United States government before October 17, when Congress voted to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and pay its bills.

There was nothing said about how timely those bills would get paid.

Despite all the talk, the money isn’t necessarily getting to those expecting it, like Wayne County.

On January 23, the Wayne County Commissioners approved a $100,000 loan to the Redevelopment Authority of Wayne County to keep popular federal grant funded programs going. These programs benefit low-income communities, providing home energy and block grant for local projects.

They also approved a letter to the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) requesting that funding be provided in a timely fashion.

Federal and state funding, channeled through the state DCED, funds the DCED Small Cities Program, the PA Community Development Block Grant Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Counties apply for funding before April and are supposed to receive payment by June.

Commissioners’ chair Brian Smith blamed the slow-down on changes in funding dispersal after passage of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Funding has slowed; for example Wayne filed for funding in February of 2012, and did not receive funds until November. Last year, they filed in January and have yet to even receive a contract to finalize payment.

Sussex wants reservoir flood mitigation

The commissioners received, but took no immediate action on a letter and resolution from the Sussex County, NJ Freeholders. The resolution calls for the four Delaware River basin states, the so-called decree parties, to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to amend the court’s 1954 decree apportioning river water use.

The change being sought would direct New York City to reduce the maximum volume it may impound in its Delaware River reservoirs from 105% between May 1 and June 15 to a point “at or below 90% during all periods of the year.”

The resolution comes in the wake of ice jam related downriver flooding in Pennsylvania and New Jersey earlier this month, and addresses warm weather storm and hurricane events.

The resolution states that the change would allow for “reasonable flood mitigation,” to protect downstream communities in the calendar period when “historically flooding has occurred… creating an unnecessary and dangerous threat,” to those communities.