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Published: Tuesday, 5/28/2013

Toledo City Council fails to overturn line-item veto regarding federal money to three shelters


Toledo City Council failed today to overturn a line-item veto regarding federal money to three homeless shelters from Mayor Mike Bell, and then postponed a compromise on using city general fund money to help fund their operations.

The ping-ponging between the mayor and council regarding the allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant funding has gone on for weeks. It seemed close to an end today but will now go one at least another two weeks.

Earlier this month, Mayor Bell cut council out of the final piece of the decision-making process on allocating more than $6 million in Community Development Block Grant funding. Instead of waiting for a council vote of approval or allowing revisions, he sent the city’s “one-year action” plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Council subsequently passed its own plan that restored funding to three shelters - Aurora House,1035 North Superior St.; LaPosada, 435 Eastern Ave., and Family House, 669 Indiana Ave – and also for a low-income senior housing project in North Toledo. Mayor Bell used his veto power on May 22 to wipe away those changes but then just last week said it would ask council to approve taking $100,800 out of the city's austere general fund to help bail out the shelters.

Nine votes were needed to override the veto but only five voted in favor today – Councilmen Tyrone Riley, Steven Steel, Lindsay Webb, D. Michael Collins, and Mike Craig. Councilmen Shaun Enright, Paula Hicks-Hudson, Rob Ludeman, and Adam Martinez voted against overriding. Councilmen George Sarantou, Joe McNamara, and Tom Waniewski abstained.

Mr. Martinez, chairman of council's neighborhoods committee, said he supports the compromise but it is being held for two weeks because of “technical issues” with the legislation in that it doesn't specify how that $108,000 would be spent.

“I am optimistic that we can find a compromise,” he said.

Under the olive-branch option offered by the Bell administration, Aurora, a shelter for homeless women and their children, would get an additional $28,634; LaPosada, a shelter for families, would get an extra $8,000, and Family House, a family shelter, would get an extra $64,166. Also under the recommendations sent to HUD, St. Paul's Community Center, 230 13th St., will get $20,500 in block-grant money -- about half of what it previously got. Family Outreach Community United Services, Inc., 283 Ashland Ave., will get $77,282 and Harbor House, a shelter for homeless and chemically dependent women at 3322 Cherry St., will get $14,700.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.

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