The City-County Council approved hundreds of millions in funding for projects and programs during its meeting Monday night.
Council members passed a proposal to use up to $100 million in federal funding for rental assistance. The money is approved from funds distributed by the state and Deputy Mayor of Community Development Jeff Bennett said it provides added COVID relief for local residents.
“To maximize the amount of federal assistance that we can keep in Marion County,” Bennett said.
The county would like to launch a permanent rental assistance program.
A proposal allocating more than $200 million in COVID-19 relief funding from the American Rescue Plan was also passed. That includes $150 million for public safety and police. The funds will also support programs that assist Black-owned businesses, said entrepreneur Marshawn Wolley.
“This specific provision I am referencing is an important step as we continue to pursue equity in 2021,” Wolley said.
The council also approved other proposals that finalize funding for projects in the Circle City Forward initiative to improve public facilities, and $25 million for trails and greenways.
Included in the package is funding for the coroner’s office which has seen a spike in fatalities this year from violence, COVID-19 and substance abuse. Republican Councilor Michael-Paul Hart said this needs to be a priority.
“We as a council need to start putting a little more focus on what we’re going to do in our city and prevent them from becoming decedents in our coroner's office because of the use of drugs,” Hart said.
The 2022 budget will be voted on next month.