Flint, MI – Over 90 Flint residents applied to be on the Flint Community Advisory Committee, a group that will evaluate local organizations’ proposals for grants from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) budget.

The application opened on Dec. 6, 2022, following a city press release, and the process closed at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023.

Flint’s interim communications director, Caitie O’Neill, told Flint Beat that the city received a total of 96 applications for the Community Advisory Committee, but five applicants were ineligible because they were not Flint residents—leaving 91 applicants for consideration.

Whoever is selected from those applicants will support the allocation of $18,160,000 that Flint City Council set aside in an ARPA allocation plan approved on Oct. 24, 2022.

That funding allocation is meant to include $9,660,000 in grants for neighborhood improvement, $3 million in grants for economic development, $1 million in grants for public safety, and $4.5 million in grants for public health initiatives according to the plan.

Per the city’s release, members of the ARPA Community Advisory Committee will evaluate ARPA grant proposals and make recommendations to City Council on whether an application should be approved or denied. However, the committee’s recommendations will be reviewed by Mayor Sheldon Neeley and City Council, who will then make the final decision on funding awards.

The ARPA page on the city’s website promises that “the (Community Advisory) committee will be broadly representative of Flint’s geographic area and rich diversity.”

The website also encouraged residents with experience in any of the four ARPA programs—economic development, neighborhood improvement, public health, and public safety/youth development—to apply.

While the application required candidates to describe their interest in serving on the committee and to share their gender and age alongside an optional question about race, O’Neill said that the city could not provide Flint Beat with demographic information or credentials of applicants so as to keep the application process as anonymous as possible.

At an Oct. 24 City Council meeting, Flint Chief Resiliency Officer Lottie Ferguson indicated that the city administration will partner with philanthropic organizations to narrow down the applicant pool to a smaller committee.

“We are working with our philanthropic partners who grant dollars to the community on a regular basis and so, they are assisting with the process of the selection committee and identifying those who will be available to serve on that committee,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson told Flint Beat that these partners will include the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and the Ruth Mott Foundation.

O’Neill also previously stated that a “lottery selection process” of the applicants will result in nine residents, one per city ward, being appointed to the ARPA Community Advisory Committee.

O’Neill said that she will provide an update on the timeline for selecting committee members on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

Zachary Marano is Flint Beat’s local government reporter. Zack is originally from Milford township and returns to southeast Michigan after reporting for a daily newspaper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula....