Some St. Louis families will get $500 payments in COVID relief plan

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ST. LOUIS- Aldermen gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that among other things, will send targeted St. Louis families $500 payments as part of a $168 million package to allocate federal COVID-19 relief through the American Rescue Plan.

Final passage had been held up for weeks as Mayor Tishaura Jones and Comptroller Darlene Green faced off with Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed over concerns that more than $30 million in the bill earmarked for economic development in North St. Louis was outside the scope outlined by U.S. Treasury officials.

They still have those objections but voted last week to pass the bill out of the city’s board of Estimate and Apportionment.

“This direct relief package will help get people vaccinated, keep families in their homes, make our streets safer and deliver $500 payments to families who need it most, ” Jones said in a statement after the vote Wednesday. “I am grateful to the members of the Board of Aldermen for passing this direct relief package, and I continue to work with Comptroller Green to address our shared concerns with portions of the bill that do not follow U.S. Treasury regulations. My administration is working to ensure we invest American Rescue Plan Act funding in long-term solutions to transform our neighborhoods while still following the rules laid out by the federal government.”

Reed said last week that he believes that appropriating the funds itself does not fall outside the guidelines established by the Treasury, and city departments and their consultants would be in position to make sure the actual expenditures adhere to federal standards.

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