Week 4 discussion 1
Block and Categorical Grants
Based on your readings for this week, compare and contrast a Block Grant and a Categorical Grant. Evaluate which grant is most useful in terms of law enforcement operations? Why?
Our discussion first, then the individuals response, need the good and bad of post thanks
Categorical grants are used for funding of specific activities by the government. There may be matching requirements which require the funded agency to contribute a certain amount of money to the project. Of particular note in categorical grant is that it can either enforce an agenda by the local entity, that they already had planned, or it can provide an end goal promoted by the grantor. Categorical grants can be complex, have elaborate control measures, and can distort local priorities (Mikesell, 2011, pp. 611-614). This means that the categorical grants have the potential to change the local goals and promote an agenda just to obtain funding. This may not benefit the community in the best way. The complexity of these grants can cause some entities to not pursue them because they do not have the administration or personnel to manage the reporting system. Lamar Police Department has a small categorical grant that is geared toward our Animal Shelter project, that enables us to seek medical care, but only for abandoned animals that now belong to us. This is limited funding but does provide monies that we would not normally obtain.
The block grant is used for funding “general-purpose governments according to a statutory formula.” (Mikesell, 2011, p. 615) The block grant is geared toward government agency and jurisdictional needs. The block is much more forgiving in the reporting requirements and therefore easier to administrate. My own experience has demonstrated the interagency cooperation and area benefit of agencies is very important. I have personally applied for over $1,000,000.00 in block grants and have administrated and managed one quarter of it. The next $750,000.00 is currently being applied for. Our small agency is working with our entire judicial district to gain a benefit for everyone. This cooperation with all agencies within the district also gains a major discount in the total amounts required, due to the buying power and amount of products needed.
The block grant is geared for law enforcement and provides a fairly easy reporting system. This makes block grants the most useful for law enforcement. The block grants that I have applied for do not have a matching requirement, which makes it easier, but it can provide for only a limited piece of budget.
Mikesell, J. L. (2011). Fiscal Administration: Analysis and Applications for the Public Sector. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.