Councilwoman blocks creation of CARES Act special fund

·2 min read

May 14—ANDERSON — The Anderson City Council will conduct a special meeting to establish a required special account to receive federal American Rescue Plan funds.

The city council passed an ordinance to create the fund through two of the required three readings Thursday.

But a special meeting, at 5 p.m. Monday, will be required to adopt the ordinance after Councilwoman Rebecca Crumes, D-at large, voted against suspending the rules to allow for the final vote for passage.

Crumes didn't want to create the fund until the administration of Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. provided details on how the funds would be spent.

She wanted Council President Ty Bibbs, D-at large, to create a committee to include community members.

Anderson will receive $23.2 million in 2021 and 2022. City attorney Paul Podlejski said a detailed plan on how the funds will be used will be presented to the council in the future.

"We're currently going through the guidelines," he said of how the American Rescue Plan funds can be spent.

Councilwoman Jennifer Culp, R-1st District, asked for a list of the planned spending over the next two years.

"I want to make sure the money is spent with council approval," she said.

Podlejski said the plan submitted by the administration could be amended and the funds have to be spent by Dec. 31, 2024.

"I don't want one person in the administration to decide who will receive the money," Culp said.

Councilman Ollie H. Dixon asked for a copy of the 151-page guidelines for the spending, which Podlejski said would be provided to council members.

"Any expenditures have to be approved by the council," Podlejski said.

Crumes said community input was needed on how the funds would be spent and that a committee should be formed.

"We're all going to benefit or no one will benefit," she said.

Podlejski said the expenditures have to be related to the coronavirus pandemic and the fund has to be established.

He said the city is anticipating 50% of the $23.2 million to be received this week.

"We're required to have the account to receive the funds," Podlejski said. "That's why we want the ordinance passed on third reading."

Broderick said the first step in the process is to establish the separate fund.

"Once the fund is established we can receive the money from the federal government," he said. "Specific details in the ordinance (spending) will be considered by the council."

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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