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Arlington Fiscal Board Seeks To Limit Housing Grants Budget In 2012

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Housing grants given in Arlington County.
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Housing grants given in Arlington County.

Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed increasing the funding for the grants in 2012 by $630,000, bringing the total up to $6.6 million from the 2011 adopted budget for the housing program.

Arlington is the only jurisdiction in Northern Virginia that offers such a program, which offers direct rental subsidies to those most in need.

The Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission is a citizen board appointed to advise the Arlington County Board on budget and financial matters.

Commission member Mike McMenamin voted with a majority of the members to oppose the county manager's plan to add $630,000 to the program. "One has to wonder, are people moving to Arlington County because of this program?" McMenamin asks.

Supporters of the increase, such as Arlington resident Alan Howze, say the money is necessary because the recession has hit people at the bottom end of the economic ladder especially hard.

"Two-thirds of the program supports housing for the elderly and disabled, who are living on fixed incomes," he says.

County Board members will have the final say on funding for this and many other programs when they adopt a budget later this month. The board is scheduled to vote on the 2012 budget April 16.

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