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County Officials Did Not Always Administer the County’s CDBG Program in Accordance With Program Requirements

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We completed a review of Hudson County, NJ’s administration of its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program based on a risk analysis performed by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).  The objective of the audit was to determine whether County officials had established and implemented controls to ensure that the County administered its CDBG program in accordance with program requirements.

Our review determined that Hudson County’s CDBG program had weaknesses in its administrative and financial management controls, which lessened assurance that it administered the program in accordance with program requirements.  Specifically, (1) County officials were inconsistent in charging planning and administration costs to the program, (2) program delivery costs for rehabilitation assistance were inflated or unnecessary in proportion to the actual rehabilitation assistance provided, (3) CDBG funds were advanced to another Federal agency, (4) CDBG funds were used to administer a subgrantee’s Emergency Solutions Grant program, and (5) deficiencies were noted in the administration of the subgrantee agreements.  These conditions occurred because of County officials’ inadequate controls over program administration and their misinterpretation of program requirements.  These shortcomings led to ineligible and unreasonable costs being charged to the CDBG program as well as unsupported reimbursements to subgrantees.  As a result, County officials could not assure HUD that they disbursed $362,912 in CDBG funds for eligible, reasonable, and necessary program costs.

We recommend that County officials reimburse HUD (1) $25,107 for ineligible planning and administration costs charged to the CDBG program, (2) $127,380 for inflated or unreasonable housing rehabilitation program delivery costs, and (3) $18,426 for costs associated with ineligible homeowners’ housing rehabilitation assistance.  In addition, County officials must provide documentation to justify $39,999 in unsupported housing rehabilitation assistance reimbursed to the subgrantee and $152,000 in unsupported reimbursements to subgrantees or reimburse the CDBG program those amounts.