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Good & Bad: President Trump’s Budget Proposals Impact on St. Cloud

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, photo courtesy of Brad Veenstra
St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, photo courtesy of Brad Veenstra

ST. CLOUD – St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis is giving President Donald Trump’s budget proposal mixed reviews.

The President wants to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program. Kleis says St. Cloud gets about $500-thousand a year from that federal program. He says the city primarily uses the money for the HRA rehab program.

Trying to rehabilitate homes that are dilapidated, or in some cases if folks don’t have the dollars to fix the house and stay in it.  Also, in some cases, to fix up a house so it doesn’t become a rental property, or an issue for a neighborhood.

Kleis says the city also used some C-D-B-G money last year to replace the kitchen equipment at the Whitney Senior Center.

The program’s current year funding is $3 billion.

Meanwhile, Kleis says he’s happy to hear Trump has proposed eliminating the federal Essential Air Service program that subsidizes airline flights to 111 communities across the country.

Kleis says that program began back in the mid 1970s and airports were grandfathered in to it. He says St. Cloud’s airport doesn’t qualify for the program because we’re too close to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

In fact if we had that we’d have air service going right now.  With United it’s one of the things we didn’t have, we had to apply for a special grant, which we were able to obtain from the federal government. But, when that ran out we ran out of air service again.  So, if you got rid of that, you’d put everybody on an even playing field and just compete.

Kleis says he’s long advocated for the federal government to end that program.

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