Local cities deciding how to use COVID-19 relief money

NOW: Local cities deciding how to use COVID-19 relief money

ELKHART, Ind. – American Rescue Plan funding was discussed in Elkhart’s and South Bend’s Common Council meetings Monday night, both proposed ways for each city to spend the millions of dollars in federal funding to help communities recover and move forward from the pandemic.

“There are multiple different areas that COVID impacted us and we’re trying to at least provide an opportunity for all of our community to recover,” said Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson.

The Elkhart finance committee discussed three ordinances to spend about $1.5 million out of their $18 million in American Rescue money, to help those hard-hit businesses, but also develop their downtown along with expand areas of the city to help their economy thrive.

“You’re going to see some more programs with the ARP money that are going to help our neighborhoods that’s going to be very important as well because we have to be able to sustain what we have while we’re looking toward the future,” said Arvis Dawson, the President of the Finance Committee and Councilman-at-Large.

Meanwhile, the South Bend Common Council voted on roughly $14.5 million of American Rescue Plan funds with $3.5 million earmarked for utility relief and assistance projects to help nearly 7,800 residents 60-days behind on payments because of the pandemic.

And over 3,800 more than 90-days behind on utility bills.

“This is what enables us to invest ARP dollars into things that we know we all care about, neighborhood infrastructure demolitions of unsafe buildings that are causing hazards, all sorts of things,” added South Bend Mayor James Mueller.

The South Bend Common Council voted in favor of ARP funding while the Elkhart Finance Committee also referred all three ordinances with a due pass recommendation which means, they will now head to the City Council meeting next Monday.

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