JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Lawmakers in Jamestown are restructuring how their American Rescue Plan Act funding is spent, and possibly, looking to improve resources for the city police department in hopes of combating crime.
Last month, residents spoke out about the rise in crime locally and called on officials to do more to help, including providing more funding for Jamestown Police.
On Monday, Jamestown City Council shifted focus from various housing, business and nonprofit programs to table four million dollars. While a definite plan for the money was not agreed upon, city council members laid out their idea.
“Are we missing the boat on gun violence, and on public safety, on issues that are extremely COVID related, that we’re just continuing to divest into offshoots of programs,“ explained councilwoman Kim Eckland. “The SWAT van is a prime example, we said no initially and now with gun violence, should we be revisiting that before the dollar’s gone.”
Plans to purchase a SWAT armored vehicle came up as well, a proposal initially turned down, but now, with rising crime rates, ARPA funding could be used to reignite the initiative.
“It’s been brought up with the past administration about purchasing a BearCat, and it was always about funding,“ stated councilman Jeffery Russell. “They’re somewhere between $250 to $275 thousand dollars, so it was always a funding issue. We were not able to buy that.”
At the current expenditure rate, some feel the city will soon have no ARPA monies left.
“We’re eventually gonna run out of funds here quickly as all of us can see,“ explained Eckland. “So if we keep modifying program after program to touch all the needs. Is there another to look at things to make sure that things are covered? I just don’t want to keep in the habit of saying oh we missed this group, oh we missed this group, oh we missed this group, and now we’re going to open it up again, and we’re just going to compound every time
If the City of Jamestown went forward with all the programs presented to them, officials would be left with just over four million dollars in unassigned monies of the original $28 million the city was allocated under the American Rescue Plan Act.