Flint, MI — Flint City Council voted unanimously to send a resolution that would allocate millions of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for home repair to its August finance committee meeting, citing a lack of clarity and transparency and a need to allocate more dollars to the initiative.

“I won’t be supporting this motion or the motion to approve this until we get transparency on . . . who was not picked, who applied, why they were chosen. The whole thing needs to be transparent,” said Flint City Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer during a July 26, 2023 Flint City Council Special Affairs Committee meeting.

Pfeiffer said he would not support the resolution until there’s more transparency on the application process for organizations to apply to receive ARPA funding.

Flint City Councilwoman Judy Priestley expressed a similar sentiment, saying that it’s important for council to know why the organizations were selected.

“Maybe some of it was that they just weren’t eligible for federal dollars. We don’t know that. That’s something that we need to know,” she said.

The resolution would allocate $5 million between the following organizations: Metro Community Development, Court Street Village, Habitat for Humanity and Genesee County Community Action Resource Department.

Flint City Administrator Clyde Edwards said the organizations were selected based on recommendations from the city’s ARPA Advisory Committee, which some councilmembers have called “illegal.”

In late June, the ARPA Advisory Committee drew some controversy after councilmembers Eric Mays and Tonya Burns called a special meeting saying the committee is “illegal.” They have since filed a lawsuit, along with four Flint residents, against the city and Mayor Sheldon Neeley regarding the city’s ARPA funding.

In addition to transparency, Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter said more money needed to be allocated to home repair.

“Five million dollars is not enough. This is simply not enough to take care of the home improvements that need to be taken care of,” said Winfrey-Carter.

Priestley, who chairs the Council’s finance committee, said that while she agrees more money is needed, it must come from a different part of the budget.

“I do expect more money to be put into that category [home repair], but not until we’ve spent some of the other money,” Priestley said. “So I am in favor of increasing it. I’ve been in favor of adding more money to it all along. However, you have got to take it from somewhere and nobody’s telling me where it’s gonna come from.”

Councilman Eric Mays made a motion to amend the resolution to allocate $20 million to home repair instead of $5 million, which was supported by Winfrey-Carter.

Council Vice President Ladel Lewis and members Burns, Mays, Pfeiffer, Priestley, Quincy Murphy, and Eva Worthing voted unanimously to move the resolution to the agenda of its next finance committee meeting, which will take place at 5 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2023.

Sophia is Flint Beat's City Hall reporter. She joins the team after previously reporting for the Livingston Daily and the Lansing State Journal, along with some freelance work with The New York Times....