MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis now has millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan Act with more on the way. It comes as President Joe Biden announced federal pandemic money can now be used to address crime.
Last year Memphis set a record for homicides and children shot. Mayor Jim Strickland told us last week crime is a top priority for him as well.
“Obviously public safety. That’s the number one priority of the city. It’s the number one priority of the citizens,” said Strickland.
In this video posted to his Facebook page, he outlined his priorities to address crime. He will present some of those to the city council on Tuesday, as they decide how to spend millions of federal pandemic dollars.
“Each time I hear of another person shot and killed it makes me angry,” said Strickland.
The city has already received $80 million of its $160 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Memphis only allocated $16 million of that, which leaves a lot of money left to spend.
Councilman Martavius Jones said he has some ideas for how this money can benefit the community.
“Put it into the community to allow some of those businesses that have suffered to maybe incentivize and bonus employees who didn’t choose to stay at home and came to work and still helping some of those businesses,” Jones said.
Jones recommendations would also provide money for MLGW Bill assistance and to centers that address homelessness.
“This is an unprecedented time where we will have a flood of federal money that will really do some impactful things here in Memphis and I hope we seize that opportunity,” Jones said.
The city council and the mayor will meet on Tuesday to discuss these unprecedented times to address unprecedented issues impacting our city.
“So we have so many needs that far exceed the $80 or $160 million, but we’ll present our best case to the council,” said Strickland.
The mayor says he doesn’t expect a vote Tuesday on any ideas presented. The city has until the end of 2023 to spend all the money.