Community members discuss how COVID relief funding should be spent

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VANDERBURFH COUNTY, Ind (WEHT)– The Vanderburgh County ‘Road to Recovery Committee’ met again today deciding what to do with the money the county receives in the latest COVID relief bill. People are making suggestions about how the county should divvy up that 35 million dollars. Committee members say the money the county is receiving through the American Rescue Plan Act is meant to reimburse government funds lost during the pandemic. It can also be used on broadband, water infrastructure, and transportation.

“We are also looking at possibly a county employee helping us navigate through the bill,” said County Commissioner President Ben Shoulders.

“The collective health and quality of life of our community is at stake,” said one community member who spoke at the committee meeting. “We suggest that you allocate one million dollars of the rescue plan funds for the Evansville care center.”

Some CAJE members are hoping to see a portion of the money to help people battle with their mental health and substance abuse. Even though the Evansville care center is aiming to take the pressure off our county jail, it may not qualify for COVID relief money given to the county.

“There’s a separate piece to this bill where projects such as care centers, community centers, civic centers and so forth can also be used for a separate pool or traunch of money from this bill that would be directly funded from the federal government,” said Shoulders. He’s hoping to get more guidance from the state or federal government as they listen to community member’s spending suggestions.

Other community members asked for local stimulus checks for Vanderburgh County residents as well as investing to improve neighborhood parks.

Vanderburgh County will be receiving the first half of the $35 million dollar COVID relief fund May 11th. The committee hopes to have recommendations on how to spend the money by then.

(This story was originally published on April 7, 2021)

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