AKRON, Ohio — While the state cuts back on unemployment, Akron is working out a plan to hand out money.
The city will distribute more than $145 million it's getting from the government as part of the American Rescue Plan that President Biden signed in March.
With that big boost comes a big debate of how to responsibly spend that money. Akron’s deputy mayor for integrated development says the federal dollars will be used to kick-start programs focusing on large-scale community investments.
City leaders say they plan on using the money in six key areas including housing and utility programs, local economic and small business recovery, community and youth violence prevention and I-T and budget stabilization.
Right now, the most money would go towards parks and public facilities.
“Our public spaces were the only safe places we could go for such a long time and 2020 and they're definitely showing that wear and tear,” said Akron Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development James Hardy.
The city’s main concern is the ongoing debate in Ohio’s legislature around how people working remotely should pay income taxes. City officials believe corporations should pay the city where they’re headquartered, and not necessarily where the person is working.
“If you're that worker, though, you're saying to yourself, why should I pay an income tax to a community that I neither live nor work in? And that's a very legitimate complaint,” Hardy said. “But I believe that there can be a transition period where this all works itself through.”
Right now, Akron is still finalizing plans and working with residents to make sure these plans line up with community goals.
City council is hoping to have a decision on a good portion of the spending before Aug. 1.
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