Finding funding for a senior transportation program

By Jillian Marshall

December 16, 2013 Updated Dec 16, 2013 at 11:40 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) City Council members indicated they will reverse a decision not to fund a senior transportation service that uses federal funds to operate. It's a move members of the agency say will save their service for another year.

City Council agreed to provide $10,000 to Catholic Charities' Retired Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP, after denying them any assistance from the federal Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, at the beginning of the month.

The grants are issued annually by the federal government and then allocated at the local level, typically to community organizations like Catholic Charities.

Initially, RSVP applied for $20,000, but were left off the list of dozens of organizations to receive funding.

Council members decided to take another look at where their CDBG funds were going after RSVP was denied.

Councilmembers were considering taking 7 percent from every organization granted CDBG funds to make up the extra cash for RSVP. But the committee appointed to study and dole out CDBG funds set $15,000 aside for an organization with a focus on crime prevention - but no one applied for the grant.

Council approved taking $10,000 out of that pot to give to RSVP.

"I'm glad we found a way out, but next year there may not be a way out," Marty Doorey, chairman of the committee. "So all programs have to be on their best, step up their game."

Doorey said RSVP initially didn't receive any funding because "they weren't getting the best bang for their buck," which means the committee thought they were asking for too much money compared to the services they offer.

"When they sharpen their budget pencils, when they sharpen their proposals, I ask them to be very conscious," Doorey said. "There is always the possibility that somebody may not get the money they're seeking."

City Council is set to vote on all of the grants at Wednesday's meeting.

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