NAACP, citizens call on Dayton to extend deadline for federal bailout funds

“The process requires that we really think about how we disburse this funding,” she said. “It’s not easy to run and spend $ 140 million on top of the $ 175 million we spend in a regular year.”

Dayton received approximately $ 138 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 which was approved by lawmakers and signed by President Joe Biden.

Last month, Dayton published a Fundraising Opportunity Notice inviting nonprofit, for-profit and faith-based groups to submit funding requests for eligible projects.

City funds can be spent on projects that help mitigate the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and on projects that help some of the hardest-hit communities and families, such as in the western and northern regions. northwest of Dayton.

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Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein spoke on Monday about her selection of Kamran Afzal as the new Dayton Police Chief. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Projects must be for capital or one-time spending, located in Dayton and “self-sufficient,” the city documents say.

During the last two committee meetings, Jo Cooley-Love, Sadé Diké and other members of the community called on city leaders to extend the application deadline.

A small group of people also demonstrated outside city hall last week, carrying signs that read “We Want Transparency,” “Black / Brown Communities Need ARPA Funds” and other messages.

Cooley-Love said federal funds are a “life-changing” opportunity to solve some of the community’s most pressing issues, but the city’s application process has been a mess.

Cooley-Love said the city has not given community members enough time to prepare and submit applications, especially since funds are not expected to be committed until the end of 2024.

“I don’t know what rushing is,” she said. “We demand fairness, we want an extension.”

Jo Cooley-Love is asking the City of Dayton to extend the deadline for applications for rescue funds at a recent city committee meeting.  CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Jo Cooley-Love is asking the City of Dayton to extend the deadline for applications for rescue funds at a recent city committee meeting. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Cooley-Love said ensuring adherence to guidelines is not easy and takes time, especially for small businesses and groups that have no experience with grant applications, including some black organizations and brunettes. She said the online portal only went live at the end of September and there were technical issues with the website.

Dayton held tech support workshops to answer questions, but only a few sessions took place after office hours, meaning many people didn’t get the chance to get the information they needed. , Cooley-Love said.

Diké, a Dayton resident, said she was concerned that the city’s spending eligibility guidelines were too narrow and that federal money was not being used as intended and as it should be.

Sadé Diké speaks at a meeting of the City of Dayton Commission on its Federal Rescue Funds.  CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Sadé Diké speaks at a meeting of the City of Dayton Commission on its Federal Rescue Funds. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

City manager Dickstein recently said the city was trying to be intentional and strategic and wanted three years to execute its plan to allocate its rescue funds.

In early December, the city will hold community meetings to share its draft allocation plan, Dickstein said, and the commission will likely hold a working session on the plan on December 8, followed by a public hearing and vote. commission the week. after.

Dickstein said the website had technical issues that staff resolved as quickly as possible, and last week she said the city had already received 66 initial requests.

Cooley-Love, Diké and Foward have asked the city to make seven changes to its notice of funding opportunities.

— They called for the deadline to be extended to the end of March and for the city to offer additional help to potential grant applicants.

— They have also called for clearer guidelines on eligible capital expenditures and they want salaries, wages and operating costs to be eligible expenses.

— They also asked the city to share more of its data ahead of the application deadline and say how much funding it will provide for projects.

“I strongly urge the City of Dayton to implement the … recommendations to improve the application process, reduce respondent apprehension, and prevent community resentment when implementing the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Foward wrote in his letter to the city manager.

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