Wilmington City Council President seeks public input on COVID relief funds
Wilmington City Council’s president takes questions from the public on how best to spend the city’s American Rescue Plan Act federal funds.
The city is getting over $55 million with approximately $27 million of those dollars expected to arrive in the next two weeks.
The money can only be used to respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits.
It can also be used to aid impacted industries like tourism, travel, and hospitality.
In submitted questions to City Council President Trippi Congo, residents asked for the money to be put to housing, police substations in high crime neighborhoods, more social services, and investing in inner city areas.
When asked about hazard pay for essential workers, Congo endorsed the idea.
"The guidelines have said that we are able to give premium pay to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 emergency, and they encourage funding to go toward the lower wage workers," said Congo. "This is something that we at council will work with our Department of Labor together on because I do believe that it is a must we do so."
Congo commended Mayor Purzycki’s administration for committing to make how it spends the funding a transparent process.
"They're going to have separate web pages on the city's website where it will show how much money has been spent, and also where those monies are going towards," said Congo. "It's going to be an extremely transparent process so just please make sure that you are monitoring that as we will be doing the same on council."
Congo adds in the end it’s the mayor’s decision what to do with the funds, but City Council intends to hold conversations with the administration to make sure the people’s voices are heard.