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Politics

Cincinnati Council is moving ahead on Pureval's plans to reallocate ARPA money

Cincinnati City Hall
Jason Whitman
/
WVXU
City Hall as seen from Plum St. in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Two more projects are getting a funding boost from Cincinnati's federal stimulus money. On Monday, Council's Budget and Finance Committee gave initial approval to $400,000 to design a bike path on the west side and $300,000 to help low-income residents buy houses.

The money is "leftover" from last year's American Rescue Plan. The previous council voted to use it for fire department overtime but the federal government this year said that isn't an eligible use.

Council Member Liz Keating asked to delay a vote so the money could be considered along with the city budget this summer. She says she doesn't oppose either project specifically.

"I hear a lot of people up here talk about process all the time, but we only talk about process some of the time, not every single time," Keating said. "I'm saying if we're actually going to be true to our word and true to our campaign promises, we should start paying attention in the process every single time."

A few other council members expressed support for that idea last week, including Committee Chair Greg Landsman, who wanted to delay a proposed $1 million allocation for pedestrian safety.

But Keating's motion Monday to delay a vote did not get a second.

"This isn't like new funding, right; this was previously approved and we just found out it was ineligible," said Council Member Mark Jeffreys. "We have this opportunity now to reallocate based on priorities."

Keating did not object to either ordinance being forwarded to full council without a roll call vote. Since all nine council members are on the Budget and Finance Committee and were present at Monday's meeting, the ordinances are expected to pass unanimously Wednesday.

So far, most new uses for the leftover ARPA dollars have been proposed by Mayor Aftab Pureval; the American Dream Down Payment Initiative came through Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney's office.

Another $250,000 has been proposed for police overtime to combat summer crime, and $1 million for BLINK 2022; those ordinances have not yet been heard in committee.

About $2.7 million is left after that. Any council member can propose a use for that funding.