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Cheektowaga is expected to use some federal dollars next year to fund more housing rehabilitation programs, continue police foot patrols and provide business loans to help spark economic development.

Town officials are starting to gather residents' input on how to spend the town's annual allotment of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant money.

Officials won't know until December how much is actually headed Cheektowaga's way in 1998, but they guess the town will receive the same as last year -- $924,000.

A public hearing on how the town should spend the community development block grant funds was held this week, while another one will be scheduled in January.

Officials won't decide what projects to spend the money on until the public hearing process is over.

However, some of the grant money will go toward such successful efforts as housing rehabilitation loan programs and police foot patrols in the Cedargrove Heights and Walden Avenue areas, said Jerome J. Gabryszak, the town's community development director.

"One area that has received strong support is the rehabilitation program and efforts in neighborhood preservation. So you'll see money go to that," Gabryszak said.

"Probably some money is going to go to police foot patrols," Gabryszak added. "It's not a large amount of money but it received strong support from people in those neighborhoods."

Cheektowaga has seen its amount of HUD money increase gradually the past few years.

The town received $885,000 in 1995, $902,000 in 1996 and $924,000 in 1997.

During the 1996 program year -- from June 1, 1996, to March 31, 1997, -- the town's program expenses included $480,400 on housing rehabilitation efforts at 49 owner-occupied units; $22,300 to conduct housing inspections in the Cedargrove Heights and Walden Avenue areas; $17,000 for a summer day camp for 53 low income-family children; $14,340 for overtime so police could conduct foot patrols; $190,000 for economic development business loans; and $10,575 for housing counseling services.

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