Standing room only. Wednesday’s Erie County Council meeting drew a lot of attention from the community.

Specifically, County Executive Brenton Davis’s proposal of using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for Penn State Behrend’s “Project Resolve.” The resolution failed to pass by a vote of four-to-three, but before the vote, the council chambers got a little heated.

What is being viewed as an act of defiance by many, County Executive Brenton Davis proposed the use of $5 million in ARP funding in the county budget towards “Project Resolve,” an effort by Wabtec and Penn State Behrend to expand.

Some community members have spoken to the funding being misused, alongside other cuts the county executive has made in his proposed budget.

“Our county executive who promised that he would work both sides of the aisle, that he would listen to all voices, has come to the table this evening with a hatchet at programs that benefit poor people of color,” said Gary Horton, president, NAACP, Erie branch.

Arriving at the meeting, the public also had issues getting in, saying they were locked out of the courthouse. The county clerk said there was a miscommunication with the sheriff’s office, with guests later being told there weren’t enough deputies in attendance or enough space for the guests.

We spoke to one former council member who served on the council for 42 years, and he said that he was disappointed.

“I’m a little disappointed what I see as what has happened with this council and this administration. I think they have to get together, they have to communicate, they have to sit down and talk about what is going on, and they have to understand what this home-rule charter is all about. The home-rule charter is supposed to have checks and balances that would help everyone concerned,” said Fiore Leone, former county council member of 42 years.

Again, the resolution failed to pass at this time with a vote of four-to-three, but those in attendance seemed to lose a great deal of trust in the council.