Long time resident, George Coates, had been questioning the Town of Capitol Heights Mayor and Council regarding the American Rescue Plan Funds (ARPF). Coates made it clear that from his understanding the money was meant to help residents during economic hardship (and as a result of the pandemic). Aware that the funds were released to the Town in 2021, Coates and other residents were growing apprehensive and impatient with how long it took the Town to come up with a plan on how to utilize the money.
According to US Senator Ben Cardin's office the Town received over 3M dollars. While there are some restrictions on how the money could be used, it's clear that the money was to help the municipality during a difficult time.
"I was wondering if they would ever actually come up with a plan and use the money. It shouldn't have taken so long," said Mr. Coates. "I want to know where is my money? But, I want to thank the Mayor and Council for coming to a decision. Job well done."
(PHOTO: George Coates, longtime resident Town Of Capitol Heights; photo courtesy of George Coates)
As of Monday, September 26, 2022 during a Public Session meeting the Mayor and Council took a vote and articulated their plan with the funds. "We have been discussing several different uses for the money. We discussed things from infrastructure building to even providing direct stimulus payouts. It took some time because we wanted to make the best decision--to be good stewards with the funds," Councilwoman Faith Ford told The Maldon Circulator (TMC).
Former Councilwoman Renita Cason (a homeowner) wants to make sure the money is being used in the best way possible, "While on Council, I submitted a resolution focused on infrastructure and homes. Many homes in the Town need work. Some homeowners don't have the means to do the work. The Town could contract vendors to assist with doing the work." The former Councilwoman has some varying thoughts on the dispersement plan. "Even though, I am a property owner and I will receive some of the funds, I don't think it is completely fair to exclude non-property owners. Because honestly, the Town is made up of many non-property owners. They will not receive a payout."
Currently the Council has agreed to divvy 25% of the funds to each property and that means certain homeowners could stand to get approximately $570. Other residents (i.e. renters) will not get anything. The remaining 75% of the funds will be going towards various hot-ticket items within the Town, for example, public infrastructure projects, used for revenue replacement, and for things like supporting Town operations.