Local leaders from around the country are in Chicago at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting. Cedar Rapids Mayor Paul Pate is one of the Iowans taking part. He says they’re spending a lot of time on Community Development Block Grants, the funding that helps build homes and keep people in their homes. He says they’re also talking about transportation funding and Homeland Security. Pate says the discussion on block grants is particularly important for Iowa cities. He says, “Theses are the funds that help us take care of things like our outreach programs for battered women, it also helps take care of lead abatement in older homes.” Pate sends the trend has been for less federal money for the programs, and for larger cities to draw down more money as they have bigger problems. Pate says smaller cities have to be sure they aren’t cut out because they do a good job of handling the problems. Pate says most mayors believe the economy is turning around, but he says they’re worried about maintaining the infrastructure — things like roads and sewers. “So that’s a lot of our discussion,” he says, “how we take care of the resources we have, because that’s where the economic development comes from, that’s were the first line of defense is for Homeland Security.” He says they’re spending a lot of time talking about how they share those resources and make the most out of the money they have. Pate was elected to the board of conference at today’s meeting. He says some 400 mayors are attending the meeting that wraps up Tuesday.
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