By Tom Travis
As part of federal coronavirus stimulus bill, The American Rescue Plan, the City of Flint will receive an estimated $99.33 million. Flint households projected to get more than $125 million in direct benefits, according to Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.
In a March 1 press release, Neeley “thanked the City of Flint’s friends in Washington D.C. for stepping up to help our community and the entire nation rebound from the economic impact of COVID-19.”
Estimates indicate that the City of Flint will receive $99.33 million in support through the American Rescue Plan. The sweeping $1.9-trillion measure also includes support for small businesses, schools, counties and states.
City of Flint Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Shelbi Frayer explained that the $99.33 million is to be spent over a four year period with two disbursements. The first disbursement will happen in 60 days and the second payment will happen in two years.
Councilperson Eric Mays (1st Ward) asked Frayer in last week’s city council meeting, whether the $99.33 million is “unencumbered” and will it “go into the general fund” and asked her for specifics on how that money is to be spent.
Frayer replied that the stimulus money “is for specific purposes.” adding that there is a list of “allowable” and “unallowable” expenditures for the money posted on the U.S. Congress’ website. Frayer said the City Administration is looking at those options and said that “the council will certainly be a part of those discussions.”
The U.S. Congress’ website highlights these specific areas that the stimulus money is to be spent:
- Towards the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;
- Towards workers performing essential work during the COVID–19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the State, territory, or Tribal government that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work;
- Towards the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such State, territory, or Tribal government due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the State government prior to the emergency; or
- Towards making necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
Flint families to “directly benefit” with more than $125 million in benefits
Flint families also will directly benefit, Freyer said. The City of Flint Finance Department estimates that Flint households will get more than $125 million from the benefits included in the package, including an additional federal stimulus check as well as the expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
“This is a big win for our community, and we will continue advocating for Flint and Flint families at all times and in all places,” Neeley said.
“We still are learning more about the details of any restrictions on this funding, but we know it will allow us to invest in true recovery from the intersection of crises we have weathered. These dollars will help alleviate financial pressures caused by the pandemic and help us to continue to move forward in a positive direction,” Neeley said in the press release.
“Congressman Dan Kildee deserves particular praise for making sure Flint and other hard-hit communities were provided additional support, but we are thankful for all of our many friends in Washington — including Sen. Gary Peters, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and President Biden — for their leadership and support,” Neeley added.
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.