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Jackson could miss out on $1.6 million in federal funding

Posted at 8:45 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 20:45:16-04

JACKSON, Mich — The federal government has proposed changes to what constitutes a metropolitan statistical area, and those changes could cost Jackson millions in federal money.

On Jan. 19, the federal Office of Management and Budget proposed increasing the minimum population size of metropolitan statistical areas from 50,000 to 100,000. It's the first such changed proposed since metropolitan statistical areas were first laid out in the 1950 census.

The Office of Management and Budget made clear that the metropolitan statistical area designation is supposed to be used for statistical purposes only, but lots of federal programs still rely it when determining were money goes and what for.

For instance, if Jackson were no longer a metropolitan statistical area, it could miss out on $1.6 million yearly in community development block grants, which over the years have paid for upgrades to Loomis Park, road projects and other infrastructure improvements.

"Those funding formulas are used for our home funds, too..." Mayor Derek Dobies said. "We use those home funds for weatherization projects, for housing rehab projects for those that are lower income as well. I think that it has the potential, and that's why we're concerned to impact our funding and in particular funds that we use to help the most vulnerable citizens here in the city of Jackson."

Home funds "go towards the highest concentrations of low- to moderate income individuals in our community. We use those funds anywhere from infrastructure improvements to community programming," Dobies said.

City administration crafted a letter expressing their concerns with the potential increase in the metropolitan statistical area size to the Office of Management and Budget.

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"We let them know we have some concerns," Dobies said. "Making sure that the citizens know we're going to fight for the funding that people really rely on here in the city."

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