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St. Louis mayor allows plan for COVID funds to move forward

August 7, 2021 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis is poised to spend $33 million in federal coronavirus relief funds on business development after the mayor and another powerful official temporarily dropped their objections to a spending plan from the president of the city’s Board of Aldermen.

Mayor Tishaura Jones, Comptroller Darlene Green and Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed agreed Friday on Reed’s plan for spending $168 million in federal funds. Jones and Green had been at odds with Reed for weeks over whether some of the funds could be spent on business development, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Their approval of the plan forwards it to the Board of Alderman, with action possible next week.

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Jones said she’s not backing off her position that spending funds on business development could violate U.S. Treasury Department rules and force the city to repay the money. She said she agreed to allow Reed’s plan to move forward so that other spending could go forward.

Reed contends Treasury Department rules are broad enough to allow spending on business development.

The spending plan also includes $58 million for economic relief, including housing and utility assistance, and a provision championed by Jones to make one-time cash payments of $500 to about 10,000 low-income residents.