Initial OK to Continue, Expand Urban County

At their Aug. 3, 2011 meeting, Washtenaw County commissioners gave initial approval to continue the county’s participation in the Urban County program – from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015 – and to expand the program to include six additional jurisdictions. A final vote is expected on Sept. 7.

“Urban County” is a designation of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, identifying a county with more than 200,000 people. With that designation, individual governments within the Urban County can become members, making them entitled to an allotment of funding through a variety of HUD programs, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships. Those two programs provide funding for projects to benefit low- and moderate-income residents, focused on housing, human services and other community development efforts.

Washtenaw County and the townships of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Pittsfield, Superior, Northfield, Salem, and Bridgewater got the Urban County designation in 2002. Later, the city of Ypsilanti and Scio Township joined, and in 2009 the city of Ann Arbor – which previously received HUD funding directly – joined as well, roughly doubling the amount of money available in the Urban County’s funding pool. New jurisdictions that plan to join the Urban County for the next funding cycle are the city of Saline, the village of Manchester, and the townships of Dexter, Lima, Manchester, and Saline.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow.