The latest in a series of meetings for the Montgomery Thrive Initiative was held on Monday June 13th. The initiative is a collaboration between city and county officials to decide how they will use funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
So far the group has identified five categories of planned spending: infrastructure, community impact, public health, public safety and economic development.
Despite agreeing on these categories of spending Levitate Financial, the firm hired to advise the group, says they are not sure which projects to research because the city and county have yet to reach a consensus.
Commissioner Dan Harris said this meeting was “difficult to get together” and if all decisions on spending have to be made in joint meetings “we’ll never get it done.”
He went on to suggest that there should be a “binding agreement” before either the city or county pass any resolutions to fund projects using ARP funds.
Two projects the entire group does agree on are the new Mental Health Crisis Center and new body cameras for law enforcement officers. The body cameras under consideration would not only record video but would livestream to mental health professionals who would be able to assist officers on the scene.
The consultants from Levitate Financial said suggestions on the Montgomery Thrive website show that mental health and public safety are the most important issues to the community.
In light of this they suggested funding to provide crisis counselors at area hospitals to prevent “retaliation” after acts of violence although that program may ultimately be funded through the Office of Violence Prevention.
The group will continue to hold meetings for the Montgomery Thrive Initiative as the projects move forward and they have until December 31, 2026 spend all the funds they received through the ARP.
For more information, or to suggest projects to the group, visit montgomerythrive.org