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Finance Committee makes no recommendation for CDBG funding

The Finance Committee during their Jan. 17 meeting / Zoom Screenshot

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Finance Committee voted this afternoon to not make any recommendations to the Cheyenne City Council regarding a resolution declining Cheyenne’s Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, Entitlement Status after 2024.

A “no recommendation” from the city’s financial advisory group means that councilmembers will continue to have a prolonged discussion at their Jan. 23 meeting about whether or not to adopt the resolution.

The resolution was brought before members last week, but was ultimately referred back to the committee for recommendation after local grant recipients raised concerns about finding adequate funding for their affordable housing and community programs.


Created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, the CDBG program provides entitlement-status cities like Cheyenne with yearly grants to support urban development projects.

City staff proposed declining funds and rejecting entitlement status in December 2022, citing their concerns with HUD’s restrictive criteria for determining eligible projects as well as the possibility of having to reimburse the department for any rejects.

Grants Manager Renee Smith said the city receives about $400,000 per year from CDBG and this year only six nonprofit projects were deemed eligible. Strict HUD requirements prevent staff from being able to productively spend the leftover program money.


“That’s the challenge,” Smith said during the meeting. “The money’s there; the projects aren’t.”

Despite this, nonprofit leaders from Laramie County’s senior center and community partnership center came once again to committee members and asked them to delay adopting the resolution.

“I do believe that because Cheyenne is focused on affordable housing, we will continue to work with HUD,” said Erin LaBlanc, the director of senior programs at the Laramie County Senior Center. “Why would we decline to work with CBDG grants? The answer is we wouldn’t and we shouldn’t.”


The pros and cons of keeping the CDBG funds divided committee members as well.

Councilmember Michelle Aldrich, who is on the city’s CDBG committee, said she used to be in favor of the resolution, but now opposes it.

“The more we delved into this, the more questions have arisen and the more uncertainty has followed,” she said during the meeting. “I don’t believe that at this point in time, without more research and more time, we should be declining the CDBG grant.”


On the opposite side of the spectrum, Councilmember Ken Esquibel said he has grown fond of the resolution and believes its adoption will benefit the city.

“It’s a very hard decision,” Esquibel said. “You have to take into account the time it takes our staff away from applying for other grants. … I tend to lean a lot on those recommendations when I hear what staff are going through and that’s why I’m a yes.”