Commissioners vote to apply for $1.5 million in neighborhood funding

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Indian River County Board of Commissioners, after some discussion, voted Tuesday to apply for a $1.5 million neighborhood stabilization block grant targeted to the Oslo Road area south to the county line.

The commission debated for 45 minutes the merit of accepting the Housing and Urban Development money. Commissioner Gary Wheeler advocated the county refuse the money and instead ask that it be spent to pay down the national debt. It was pointed out that the money was earmarked for Indian River County and if it was not used would  be allocated and spent by another county government.

“I happen to believe what President Regan said that government should build from the bottom up not the top down,” Wheeler said. “It is time that somebody told the federal government enough is enough. What you hear is rationalizing and then justifying.”

Wheeler was joined by Commissioner Wesley Davis in voting against the staff recommendation to accept the grant which will be administered by Habitat for Humanity and could help up to 30 families get into homes in neighborhoods ravaged by abandoned and foreclosed homes.

Commissioner Bob Solari said the discussion helped to clarify his position on this particular instance and that he thought it would benefit the county to accept the federal dollars.

“I believe the staff has made the right recommendation and there is a basis for spending the taxpayers’ money in a fiduciarily responsible manner,” he said.

The money is targetted for homes from Oslo Road to the south county line between the railroad tracks and 27th Avenue.

The $1.5 million allocation for Indian River County is part of a $1 billion Housing and Urban Development grant.  At least one-quarter of the money spent must be on buyers whose income is less than $30,000 a year.

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