The weeks-long stalemate over federal COVID-19 relief spending in St. Louis appears to be coming to an end
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis city hall appears to be one step closer to finally spending some of that COVID relief money from the feds.
Mayor Tishaura Jones and Comptroller Darlene Green have been at odds with Board President Lewis Reed over how to spend the money. Reed’s plan, Board Bill 2, was passed out of the Board of Aldermen 27-1.
But Jones and Green contend it has development incentives for north St. Louis that don’t comply with federal spending guidelines.
On Friday, they agreed to go ahead with the $163-million. It includes one of Jones’s priorities, direct payments of $500 to potentially about 10,000 city residents.
Jones’s office says she still has the same concerns about those development incentives.
The plan now goes back to the board for final passage.
A press release from Mayor Jones’ office said the bill includes:
- $6.75 million in public health infrastructure to connect people with the resources they need and get more people vaccinated with mobile vaccine clinics and community canvasses to meet St. Louisans in their neighborhoods and homes
- $58 million in direct, urgent economic relief, including housing and utility assistance, support for the unhoused, immediate cash assistance, and public benefits navigators to help residents connect with these services
- $11.5 million to address the root causes of crime and improve public safety through increased funding for violence intervention programs and youth programming and jobs to keep youth engaged and safe
Reed’s office provided the following statement after Friday’s approval:
“It is a victory for the citizens of St. Louis to finally get Board Bill 2 and the much-needed Covid Relief funding moving. I would like to thank the members of the Board of Aldermen and The Board of Estimate and Apportionment for approving this board bill that meets immediate relief needs and begins to address the long-term economic challenges of North St. Louis, which were made much worse due to Covid. Attorneys have given the board bill the green light and the Board of Aldermen will take a final vote next week after which I will sign it and send it directly to the Mayor for her signature. Then the $168 million can began to bring relief to our citizens right away.”
A statement from Jones read:
“From $500 direct payments to vaccine education and outreach to funding for community violence prevention initiatives, my plan prioritizes getting shots in arms, keeping families in their homes and addressing the root causes of crime to improve public safety,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “I’ve already taken executive action to address the crises we’re facing, and today I joined with Comptroller Green to demonstrate leadership to move this legislation forward because St. Louisans can’t wait any longer. If President Reed showed the same zeal for researching US Treasury rules as he did taking $500 payments away from St. Louis families, this relief would have reached them by now.”
Originally Appeared Here