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FLORENCE — Amid concerns that the town of Mammoth receives so little, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors delayed action on a policy for allocating federal Community Development Block Grant dollars to cities and towns.

Supervisors Chairman Anthony Smith, R-Maricopa, further noted Wednesday that Florence and Eloy receive credit for population in the current formula that includes prison populations with a questionable need for CDBG.

CDBG grants are supposed to advance national Department of Housing and Urban Development objectives and benefit low- to moderate-income residents, Pinal County Grants Administrator Tami Ryall told the board.

This is Pinal County’s first year of “entitlement status,” receiving its CDBG directly from the federal government instead of through the state. The county will also funnel CDBG grants to Eloy, Florence, Mammoth and Maricopa, with the supervisors determining the criteria.

The more populous city of Casa Grande will receive its CDBG directly, and other Pinal County communities will continue to receive their grants through the Central Arizona Governments agency.

The proposal pending before the supervisors is for Pinal County to distribute its grants based 25% on population, 50% on poverty and 25% on housing. Supervisor Pete Rios, D-Dudleyville, congratulated Ryall for bringing the affected parties together to arrive at a plan based on need and the amount of “pre-1990” housing.

But a Mammoth resident told the board Wednesday that the formula still leaves her town short. Mammoth is certainly much smaller than the other towns, but CDBG is supposed to address need, not just population, she said. She asked that the “stakeholders group” meet again to determine a better formula. If they can’t, she asked that all four communities receive an equal distribution for the first year.

Under the 25-50-25 model currently proposed, Maricopa would get the biggest share of a $100,000 grant with $39,950. Florence would be next with $31,250, Eloy would receive $23,550 and Mammoth would be left with $5,250.

Although by far the smallest community, Mammoth appears the most impoverished. But giving more weight to poverty in the formula “doesn’t move the needle as much as you’d think,” Ryall told the supervisors. Smith suggested tabling the resolution until March 11 and Rios agreed, “Let’s look at it.”

Rios noted that Maricopa also has impoverished residents, but that city has a lot of resources to respond to those needs. On the other hand, Mammoth’s main water line breaks every six months, and the street to the county complex has deteriorated to dirt. Rios said he needs to put his vehicle in four-wheel drive to reach his office.

“I don’t think it hurts to take a second look” at how the CDBG will be distributed, Rios said.

Supervisor Mike Goodman, R-San Tan Valley, said he sympathized with Mammoth but noted the affected parties, or “stakeholders,” have already spoken. He asked Ryall if she thought there would be any change if they’re asked to consider the matter again.

She replied the stakeholders group has already heard this argument from Mammoth “in multiple meetings.”

Rios made a motion to table the matter until March 11 and the other four supervisors agreed.

In other business Wednesday:

  • National Weather Service representatives presented a certificate recognizing Pinal County as a “StormReady” community. Chuck Kmet, Pinal County emergency manager, said more than just a plaque, this recognition helps the county as it applies for grants and benefits other county departments as well.
  • The board received a written report of the 32nd annual Pinal County Town Hall held in October from Chairwoman Sandie Smith, Executive Director Maxine Brown and Vice Chair Donna McBride.
  • The supervisors said farewell, with their thanks and best wishes, to Deputy Clerk of the Board Diane Gardner on her retirement.
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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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