Tensions were high at Thursday night’s Erie County Council meeting as council members discussed an agenda item supported by Erie County Executive Brenton Davis.
Matt Mathias was live with more about that resolution and how the confrontational meeting played out.
The issue at hand revolved around a resolution to use $5 million of ARP funds on a project for Wabtec. It left some council members questioning the legality of the county executive’s actions.
A resolution on how to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds has some Erie County Council members at odds.
The resolution, which is supported by County Executive Brenton Davis, would use $5 million of the county’s Pandemic Relief Funds to support project “Resolve.” The project would help Wabtec expand its operations.
One council member says Davis was trying to circumvent county council and promised funds to Wabtec that hadn’t been approved.
“Unfortunately, this is becoming a matter of routine. The county executive does not have the authority to unilaterally spend money within the budget. He must follow the restrictions of the budget, he is not a grant maker. And that is a big concern, and it should be a concern for everybody in Erie County,” said Mary Rennie, county councilwoman, District 3.
Councilman Andre Horton agrees.
He says the funds should be used to help people trying to make ends meet, not a business that’s thriving.
Supporters of this resolution tell us that this plan will benefit all of Erie County.
All of the councilmembers agree the project would be great for Erie County. They just disagree on where the funding for the project should come from.
“We believe this is imperative to help give Wabtec reasons to bring business, more employees, more contracts, to this region,” said Douglas Smith, director of administration. “We believe that’s what county executive’s ought to do. That they need to drive this conversation for trying to keep our own home industries strong.”
The resolution itself has been pushed to two weeks from now, giving its supporters more time to answer the questions that any doubters might have.
Stay with JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com for the latest on this as it develops.