By Jill Terreri
The question of whether the city had to repay the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for misusing federal funds has been at the center of a line of attack from Republican Sergio Rodriguez against Mayor Byron Brown.
Brown denied this claim during a debate, and HUD spokesman Adam Glantz told me last week that the city "did not have to return any funds to HUD." The city has to use city funds for programs that aren't eligible for federal funding, and then use the federal funds on other, eligible activities, he said.
Then Rodriguez's campaign pointed to this Investigative Post story, which says the city had returned $100,000.
I followed up with HUD for a clarification.
HUD releases funds into an account that cities can use for eligible activities, and HUD uses the line of credit as a way to monitor how the funds are spent, Glantz said.
Basically, the city never sends money back to the U.S. Treasury. When the city spends federal funds in a way it shouldn't, it has to put the money back into an account with other HUD funds, and has to spend city funds on that activity.
"When HUD asks for repayment, we ask that repayment be made to that same line of credit from a community’s non-federal funds," Glantz said. "So when a community is made to pay back in this manner – the city is paying back its own line of credit. So technically, they are not sending money back to HUD or to the U.S. Treasury. What they are doing is replenishing their line of credit with non-federal funds."
A request to HUD for the amount the city has had to pay itself back since 2006 is pending.
taggedByron Brown | City of Buffalo | city spending | Mayoral Campaign 2013 | Mayoral Race 2013 | Sergio Rodriguez