How South Bend plans to spend Covid relief funds

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The same American Rescue Plan that put a $1,400 stimulus check in your pocket will provide the City of South Bend with $58.9 million in COVID relief and recovery funds.

The amount is equal to $577 for every resident the city has, and the sum represents about 17-percent of the current city budget.

City officials are now rolling up their sleeves and talking about how to spend the cash.

“Actually, in my lifetime, we have not seen this kind of investment in the local level from the federal government so it can be a game changer for our community,” Mayor James Mueller told 16 News Now.

The mayor’s spending plan has 20-percent of the money, or $12 million, going towards COVID response and relief.

Half of that ($6 million) would be earmarked for vaccine outreach and upgrades to city owned ventilation systems.

$5 million would be set aside for resident relief and utility assistance.

$1 million would go toward small business relief.

Under the mayor’s plan, 80-percent of the cash, or $47 million, would go toward equitable economic recovery efforts.

The money would be used to invest in things like safe affordable housing, public safety interventionists and technology, in pre-K expansion and in workforce development and small business financing.

“As the economy rebounds that we’re making sure that everyone is sharing in the growth and that everyone is sharing in our prosperity,” Mayor Mueller said. “My greatest hope is this is something we can build off of. We can really transform our community. This is an opportunity, again, that once in a generation, perhaps multiple generations, and we’ve got to be ready to take hold of it and make the best of it.”

The city has scheduled three public input sessions on the use of ARP funds. The first will be August 5th at the Martin Luther King Center.

The money must be spent by the end of 2024.

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