Flint, MI—Mayor Sheldon Neeley hosted a community update Tuesday evening to provide information about federal funding coming to City of Flint.
In March, it was announced that the City of Flint would be receiving about $99.33 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Since then, residents have been wondering where that money will go, and how it can be spent. During the community update, Neeley said the administration wanted to hear from residents about how they would like to see the funds spent.
Neeley said the City has already identified five “pillars” they are looking at putting the funds toward, based on what they’ve heard from the community so far.
Those pillars are:
- Public Safety
- Blight Elimination
- Job Creation
- Owner-occupied Home Rehab and Repairs
Neeley said the administration is still looking for community input. Residents can weigh in with their thoughts and suggestions in the following ways:
- Vote in this poll: surveymonkey.com/r/FlintFundingPriorities
- Write comments and drop them off at Flint City Hall in the red drop box outside
- Call (810) 237-2000. Phone calls will not be answered or returned, but you can leave a message and that message will be transcribed and included in reports with other submitted comments.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail comments to:
City of Flint Budget Input
1101 S. Saginaw St. Room 203
Flint, Michigan 48502
Chief Financial Officer Shelbi Frayer explained some of the limits of how the funds can be spent, but said it is still early in the process, so rules for the funds are still being established.
Here’s what Frayer said they know so far:
- Funds can be used to assist households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries impacted by COVID-19.
- They can go to support essential workers and supplement lost revenue in the budget.
- They can be invested in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
- They cannot be used for pension and legacy costs, or to offset any reduction in tax revenue.
Frayer said the identified pillars seemed spot on with what she had been hearing so far from residents during council meetings, but urged people to think cautiously about the funds.
“Everyone gets really excited that we have a lot of money to spend, and that is true, we do have a five-year period to spend these dollars, and so we want to be really thoughtful about the process and making sure that we’re not spending to my right now up potentially on things that are ongoing costs,” Frayer said.
She gave the example of giving out raises to employees which would have a long-term impact, and said things like that “might not be the best use for the dollars.”
“I think we have to balance our needs with the dollars, and how we’re going to be able to spend them, so I love these priorities, I think they’re exactly what we’ve heard from folks in the community, and I can’t wait to hear the additional ideas that people have,” Frayer said.
Neeley said while the City of Flint will be receiving the $99 million, there is a chance to get more money through various grants for things like COVID-19 vaccines and testing; mortgage, rental, and utility assistance; and expanded health care coverage.
“Can somebody say game changer? This is transformational for our community,” Neeley said. “For a long time we have faced budget shortages, budget crises, without the funding and appropriate funding to really change the things in our community to make life just a little bit better… this is a restart for our community as we go forth, we’re gonna need your support and your input.”