In a June 17 article written on the expected Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding increase for the next fiscal year, it was reported by the City of Wheeling that, "Wheeling actually will receive about $34,000 more from the program than it did in 2012." Albeit a small increase to the new $1.15 million grant that the City of Wheeling will receive from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, this $34,000 increase could be spent on refunding the Wheeling Human Rights Commission. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Nancy Prager, the director of the city's Economic and Community Development Department, said that, "It's not a lot of money, but it's better than an 8 percent cut." I would agree with Ms. Prager that this increase is better than an 8 percent cut. However, I disagree with Ms. Prager and the City of Wheeling on how these federal dollars should be spent. It was reported that the city plans on using
$22,000 to pave streets, $7,000 on administrative costs, and $5,000 on building demolition. Although all three of these are vital to a functioning city, this money should be going to another entity that has been put through the ringer in the past few months. This is unfortunate that this Commission would be looked over when allocating the new $34,000 that the city will be receiving.
In the same article, it was reported that the Wheeling Human Rights Commission would not receive a single penny of the $34,000 increase. Right now, the City of Wheeling has funded the Wheeling Human Rights Commission at $14,000. Although this is barely enough to fund a part-time position, I ask the following question; why don't we give the $34,000 that has been added to the upcoming years CDBG funding to the Wheeling Human Rights Commission? I mean, it is in the city's codified ordinance (Article 169, Section 5) that the Executive Director "shall be paid an annual salary, payable in monthly installments from any appropriations made therefor." I cannot imagine other city officials taking this severe of a pay cut and still doing their respective jobs to the best of their abilities.
Call your councilman, mayor and city officials and ask the question; why isn't the $34,000 increase to the CDBG budget going to the Wheeling Human Rights Commission? And if you can get an answer, let me know.