FARMINGTON — The fiscal cliff has an edge of irony.
To keep a federal grant program, the city has to spend about $225,000 of federal money by next summer.
Farmington receives community development grants to spend on a range of projects. A portion of that money must be used by Aug. 2, meaning the city has lagged a bit in the spending department.
City Council members on Tuesday discussed what to do with the oldest portion of the $225,000 $76,576.36 left over from a 2010 program that was aimed at improving Downtown.
"The key consideration is that we want to fund a project that's deserving," said Mayor Tommy Roberts. "I'm not looking at it as we have money, let's spend it. We have funding. Let's find a worthwhile project."
The new deadline to spend the money is Aug. 2, 2013.
"There is a risk of losing the grant program if time limits are repeatedly exceeded," said Mary Holton, director of the Community Development Department.
Councilman Jason Sandel suggested using the 2010 funds for projects already approved by the council, rather than trying to finance something new.
"These are federal tax dollars ultimately," Sandel said. "I'd give it to a plan that we've already approved."
Roberts said he wanted to use the money to assist Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Juan County.
"I think we need to focus on the poverty aspect," Roberts said. "I think the Big Brothers Big Sisters facility fits with (community development) funds. A lot of kids come from low-income (backgrounds).
The Community Development Block Grant program, started in 1974, is administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A federal deadline governs how much of the grant money can remain at the end of each year.
The City Council will gather more information on how to spend 2010 grant funds. City Manager Rob Mayes and other city staff members are compiling options to bring back to council before the new year.