CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development wants the financially strapped city of Camden, NJ to fork over $290,000 for long-term projects that were never completed.

And the city says it will comply.

Federal audits found four projects from 1996 through 2001 that were never finished.  To avoid further problems down the line, the city will tap into its police budget to pay the bill.

The Camden police force was decimated by cutbacks in January (see related story), although officials insist this move will have no effect on public safety.

City attorney Marc Riondino says that when you look at the long-term picture, this is no big deal.

“We have received tens of millions of dollars since the ’90s from HUD, and I’m only aware that we have had to pay back $290,000,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

Riondino stresses things are good with the feds — so good, in fact, that HUD’s regional administrator last week put Camden at the top of the list for access to federal projects going forward.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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