Lee County has opened a new department, the Office of Strategic Resources & Government Affairs, in a step officials say will “place the county in a more competitive position to secure and manage grant funds.”
The announcement comes after the county, earlier in 2023, was awarded $1.1 billion in Housing and Urban Development funds in response to Hurricane Ian. It also is the recent recipient of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds and American Rescue Plan Act funds, according to a statement.
The new office, according to the release, will be led by Lee Assistant County Manager Glen Salyer, a 20-year employee who has served for a decade as the county’s legislative liaison and provided oversight to key county departments.
Salyer, who served in U.S. Navy Reserve and is a member of the Florida Bar, has been an assistant county manager since March 2016.
The HUD funds will be allocated through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery program directly to Lee County to assist with the county’s long-term recovery following the storm, which made landfall Sept. 28. These funds can be used for activities including housing redevelopment, infrastructure repair, economic revitalization and long-term planning.
Prior to the release of funds, which come with more restrictions for use than CARES or ARPA funds, the county is required to develop a plan to describe uses, management and oversight, the release states. The new Office of Strategic Resources & Government Affairs will handle the planning process and work with HUD for approval.
The new office, officials say, will report to the Lee County Manager and will Implement policies governing external funding; provide procedures that detail the grant proposal-seeking process; ensure the proper execution, management and close-out of the county’s grant awards; and report on the submission and status of grants in a manner that ensures transparency and accountability to county commissioners, grantors and the public.