New Jersey city faces possible loss of AIDS funding
A decision by the Paterson, N.J., city council to reallocate federal Ryan White funds to 23 HIV clinics in the region could result in a loss of all federal AIDS funds to the city, the New Jersey Herald News reports. The city council withheld $256,307 of $4.8 million given to the region for HIV prevention and treatment programs in Bergen and Passaic counties, holding funding for at least six clinics to last year's level despite expected funding increases. Karen Walker, director of HIV services at the Paterson Counseling Center, says the city council doesn't have the authority to tamper with the funding levels and grants issued by the federal government. Doing so could cause the government to rescind all funding to the region, she says. City council president William McKoy says the council should approve how the additional money from the government over 2003-2004 levels should be spent, and he has asked AIDS organizations to submit their 2004 budgets to the council for consideration for the additional funding. Other city officials say the city council has no legal authority to withhold the funds earmarked for the clinics by the federal government. The federal Department of Health and Human Services is expected to become involved in the dispute.