The Muncie City Council has approved a plan to distribute more than $30 million of federal coronavirus relief aid through the American Rescue Plan. IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports.
Council members unanimously approved the plan as it was introduced last month. Money will be put towards a number of initiatives – including city budget shortfalls, tourism industry businesses like the Horizon Convention Center and hotels, small businesses, restaurants, and non-profit organizations.
Advocates for addiction services lobbied during several meetings for more money to be put towards in-patient services in Muncie. Currently there is $2 million allocated for those services, paid out sometime in the year 2022 or later.
Local pastor Neil Kring says people who make the decision to seek treatment for an addiction need local services quickly.
“I have a couple of neighbors right now who, a couple of weeks ago, told me they were ready to go to treatment. I went and did some research, and I said ‘I’ll get back with you in the morning.’ And we looked and looked and looked and tried to find a place. Found a place. By the morning, they were not ready to go to treatment.”
Muncie City Council president Jeff Robinson says Delaware County – which gets its own pot of federal recovery funds – will be allocating some money to addiction services, too.
“And I don’t want to give the amount, and don’t want to – I’ll let them do that. But there is money coming from the county, as well. And would anticipate that we, the city, and the county would work together collaboratively.”
During a public hearing, some small businesses made a case for why they should get some of the funds. To-be-appointed committees will make the ultimate decision on which do. City officials have said they hope to build those committees, have them publish eligibility rules, and take applications as soon as possible. Robinson has said he hopes to be able to cut checks to approved businesses “before the end of the summer.”