Jackson at risk of losing $1.6M in federal funding

JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) – The City of Jackson is at risk of losing millions of dollars from the federal government.

The U.S. Census Bureau is considering changing how it defines population areas.

Community Block Grants are what’s the most at stake right now.

Jackson uses that money for a number of projects including road repair. Those projects won’t happen if the money goes away.

“A lot of them are aimed at people who are low income or impoverished,” said Aaron Dimick, City of Jackson spokesman.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget wants to change the definition of a Metropolitan Statistical Area from an area with 50,000 people to 100,000 people.

The city of Jackson and townships surrounding the city meet that 50,000 people threshold but would not reach the proposed higher limit.

“There is a funding structure in federal funds based on that population,” said Dimick.

That structure is what has city leaders worried.

Jackson gets about $1.6 million every year from the federal government just because it is a Metropolitan Statistical Area. Most of that goes to Community Block Grants.

Dimick said that money could go away with the metropolitan designation.

“If there’s any kind of funding structure, we won’t have as much money to do projects in our parks or housing initiatives for low-income residents,” said Dimick.

You can see where the city spends this money across town from residential streets to park improvements and downtown investment.

“It’s really a big surprise because it how it’s been for more than 70 years. This is money rely on every year from the federal government,” said Dimick.

The city’s been getting the Community Block Grant money since the grant started back in 1974.

Five other Michigan communities are also at risk of losing their “metropolitan” designation, Battle Creek, Bay City, Midland, Monroe, and Niles-Benton Harbor.

Jackson Mayor Derick Dobies sent the Office of Management and Budget a letter opposing the change.

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