VINITA PARK, Mo. — The clock is ticking for people who live in St. Louis County to weigh in on what should be done with $85 million the county received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.
A group met Saturday afternoon at the St. Louis County Library's Indian Trails branch to give county leaders their thoughts. Emad Aftab, the owner of Sun Valley Adult Day Centers in Bellefontaine Neighbors, was among the crowd on hand.
"We take care of intellectually disabled adults for the day. ... We had to shut down twice because of (the COVID-19 pandemic)," Aftab said.
Aftab also lost an employee to COVID-19. And as businesses look to rebound, he wants to know what St. Louis County will do to help.
The county is inviting members of the public to complete an online survey by March 25 about what they'd like to see done with the money.
Like many people, St. Louis County Council chairwoman Rita Heard Days is concerned about roads.
"I drive Hanley (Road) every day, and I need a wheel alignment when I leave. I need a wheel alignment when I get back because the road is so bad, and that road hasn't been addressed in years,” she said.
Days hopes the county will be able to use a separate pot of funds for road repairs since ARPA funds have to be used for projects specifically tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include paying essential workers, public health needs or supporting small businesses.
Once residents offer their feedback, the county will compile a report listing priorities.
"This is what (residents) want to do. This is what they want to happen. We will go from there," Days said.
"Even if I don't receive any funds, I want to make sure the allocation goes right to the pressure points of our community,” Aftab added.
The next in-person town hall is Wednesday, March 23 from 6-8 p.m. at the St. Louis County Library's Thornhill Library branch near Maryland Heights. A virtual town hall is scheduled for Monday, March 21 from 6-8 p.m.