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Louisville won’t be receiving housing rehab funds this year

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LOUISVILLE - At its December board meeting, the town council unanimously agreed to pay the St. Lawrence County Planning office $3,000 to pursue a $400,000 housing rehabilitation grant through the Community Development Block Grant Program.

They found out Wednesday they will not be receiving a grant this year. However, Deputy Director Jason Pfotenhauer informed them of this prior to completing the application, meaning the town would not be billed.

“Usually the process starts in January,” Mr. Pfotenhauer said. “This year things started a little differently. We didn’t get any notice until the middle of May.”

And when they did receive the notice of available funding, Mr. Pfotenhauer did not like what he saw.

“There was a huge reduction in the amount of funds that were available for housing rehabilitation,” he said, explaining funds are being shifted around in the budget, with the state now putting more emphasis on economic development.

Making matters worse for Louisville was what that were available had little or no chance of coming to St. Lawrence County.

“They told us the money that was available would be earmarked for parts of the state affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,” he said. “We didn’t feel comfortable writing it knowing what we knew about the potential for a successful application.”

Given that knowledge, Mr. Pfotenhauer said he felt like the town and county should void their agreement and try again at a later date.

“We feel like it’s in the best interest of the town to not go ahead with this grant,” he said. “This doesn’t seem to be the year to do that.”

When asked when they could try again, Mr. Pfotenhauer said he wasn’t sure.

“I don’t want to promise there will be more money next year, because it may be worse,” he said.”It’s really an unknown right now, but we will keep you posted. I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t say when it will be.”

Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault said once more funding does become available he would like to see the town try again.

“We’ll try again when you see fit,” he said.

Town Clerk Joanne Cameron said as soon as the people in the town heard there were potential housing rehabilitation funds available,she had a waiting list of more than 50 residents within just a short amount of time.

Councilwoman M. Gail Schneider said she would like to see the town hold onto that list for when funding eventually does become available.

“We will hold onto that list,” she said.

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