Rural communities worry over proposed cuts to grant program

April 17, 2017

WAGENER, S.C. (AP) — Rural Aiken County communities have expressed concern over the proposed elimination of the Community Development Block Grant program under President Donald Trump’s budget proposal.

The Aiken Standard reports (http://bit.ly/2oNWWeB ) the city of Aiken has received funding through the program annually while smaller towns in the region have relied on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants for water, sewer and demolition projects.

Jeff Derwort, a community and economic development manager for the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, says the grants are crucial for smaller towns that don’t have the tax base or replacement options to support basic maintenance of aging infrastructure. He says the council is taking a wait-and-see approach.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, a Republican whose district includes Aiken County, says the budget proposal isn’t final.

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