City Involvement in a CDC
Visitor Question: We are a small suburban city and what is the expectation of a Mayor's involvement in a CDC? Do Mayors, Council, Directors get involved and at what level. Is a city that receives no federal funding and very little County funding required to help fund a local CDC? Thank you.
Editors' Reply: Thanks for the questions about community development corporations (CDCs). Understand that a CDC is a private, non-profit corporation in almost all cases. A few CDCs might be for-profit corporations, but usually not, because they would like people to make charitable contributions that are tax deductible in the U.S.
The fact that the community development corporation is private, and almost by definition set up to do what government cannot or will not do, means that there is no obligation for a mayor, city council, or department heads to participate in the activities or governance of a CDC.
Many CDCs act in a way that is occasionally adversarial to the local government, so many times it's something of a mistake for a new CDC to expect that the mayor and paid staff will participate in and promote the CDC.
Having said all of that, if you are a calm, well-governed suburb, where politicians are well thought of, feel free to involve the mayor and councilpersons in a community development corporation.
Just anticipate what you will do if and when these particular elected officials fall out of favor or lose an election. You could have a bit of an awkward transition then, especially if the old mayor (your current one) and the new one didn't get along.
We thought we'd address something else you said--about no federal funding and very little county funding. No government is required to help fund a community development corporation. Some of them do, and personally, we'd like to see some financial support and then a more hands-off approach to serving on the board of the community development corporation or otherwise directly meddling in their affairs.
When you say you don't have any federal funding, we take it that you mean you don't have Community Development Block Grant funding. Most small suburbs don't have too much federal funding, with the possible exception of transportation dollars.
Your question makes us think you aren't fully comprehending what a community development corporation is all about, so re-check our page about the CDC concept or maybe even do a little more reading if you're seriously interested.
Once you grasp that a CDC is a private corporation to help do some of the tasks that government would be unable or unwilling to do, it will be a little easier to understand that the participation of your government officials is optional.
Nevertheless, if the mayor and council can be basically supportive of the CDC and its goals, at least, it's certainly a good thing. The paid staff of the city certainly needs to help the CDC assemble data, information, maps, and knowledge of resources.
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