At the October 21, 2021 Champaign County Board meeting, a discussion about ARPA funding (the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) led to questions about best practices for programs requesting funding, and a suggestion that an effective grant application process be required to ensure that programs are fully staffed and able to implement use of funds.
The intent of the question was to ensure that once funds are allocated, they would not have to be repaid - as is the policy if they are not correctly utilized. This is a valid concern and something the board should be concerned about as these are tax-payer funded programs.
During the discussion, a member of the board made a comment (to paraphrase) that these types of requirements are just red tape to prevent programs from helping people and that “Republicans don’t contribute to any of these community programs (pause) – except by paying taxes.” Not surprisingly, several in attendance were disappointed at the false and divisive comment.
As members of the CU community, we feel compelled to defend the many generous Republican citizens - including County Board members, business owners, farmers, law enforcement officers, healthcare workers, etc. who contribute well beyond the requisite taxes they pay. Organizations like the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, the Public Library, Salt & Light, to name just a few, benefit greatly from voluntary financial contributions from Republicans.
In addition to financial support, many local Republicans volunteer their time mentoring students, working at soup kitchens, helping with youth programs, serving on non-profit boards, and more. Republican owned businesses provide thousands of local jobs, significant tax revenue, and bring business into our communities. They also donate to fundraisers for local groups, clubs and schools when called upon. These are generous, community minded people who care about helping those in need and making our community a better place for all residents.
As residents of Champaign County, we have seen the generosity of many individuals (some who prefer not to receive recognition for privacy reasons). Members of both political parties (and those who do not identify with a party) must work together to solve problems. Divisive comments only serve to stall progress and hurt the entire community.
As a community, we can do better than this. We need more people to get involved. The public can attend in person (or view online) County Board, School Board and City Council meetings. See for yourself what our elected officials are saying and doing. Support local candidates who will represent our community with professionalism and diplomacy. And, finally – please vote!
To view previous meetings, visit: https://youtube.com/user/ChampaignCountyIL To see who your county board members are, visit: https://champaigncountyclerk.com/county-board/board-members-district-maps
If you’d like to voice your opinion or contribute an article to an upcoming newsletter, please contact: [email protected]
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