Diversity Commission to Receive Less ARP Funding than Expected
The newly-formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission is receiving less money than it expected from the American Rescue Plan.
The commission received $3.5 million this year and was seeking another $6.5 million next year.
However, in a 4-3 decision, Erie County Council recently voted to provide the commission with another $3.5 million in 2022.
The funding is $3 million less than the commission anticipated.
The money will be used to revitalize community centers and to help improve job training, education, and after school programs.
It will also be used to help out minority owned businesses, and entrepreneurs.
Erie County Councilman Andre Horton said the fact that council voted down the additional funding---which was already budgeted---is disappointing.
"I know many people are looking at the money, but let’s just be real clear,” said Horton. “$10 million isn't a lot of money for 400 years of oppression, because that's what we're talking about and those who are most affected by the pandemic. That money is American Rescue Plan money, and I just felt like it was being spent on projects that we already had on the board and we are still leaving people behind.”
Erie Council Chairman Carl Anderson---the only Democrat to vote against the funding increase---explains the reason behind his decision.
“We had an agreement with the Erie County Executive in what we did with the first round of ARPA funding, we should mirror in the second round of ARPA funding and we gave $3.5 million,” said Anderson. “It represented 15% of the persons of color in Erie County, which was 15% of the money that we received from the federal government.”
Erie County received its first half of $52 million in American Rescue Plan funding in 2021. The county will receive the other $26 million in 2022.
This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.