Athens City Council members will create a resolution at their committee meeting on Monday night in support of a partnership that helps Appalachian counties that would be cut under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.
The Appalachian Regional Commission, signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, operates in 420 counties and 13 states. Under Trump’s proposed budget, funding to the organization would be completely eliminated.
Athens City Council President Chris Knisely said the ARC has provided Athens with funding for projects throughout the years.
“Those funds have helped with over $1 million worth of projects,” Knisely said. “It’s very critical for us.”
Knisely said the ARC helps with funding for basic projects such as road building and water line replacement.
“We aren’t talking about a frilly kind of programming, we’re talking about basics and essentials for the city,” she said. “Infrastructure and jobs are the kind of things that the Appalachian Regional Commission helps with.”
According to a previous Post report, the ARC focuses on funding projects in struggling Appalachian communities, which spurs private investments in the area.
“The governors and states would be losing access to this flexible money,” Wendy Wasserman, spokeswoman for the ARC, said in the previous report. “We use Congressionally blessed money in communities that need it badly, which attracts a lot of matching dollars from private investments, and without us that pattern can't go on.”
Council members will also discuss funding a review of the city’s recycling abilities. Councilman Jeff Risner, D-2nd Ward, said the review would be made by a private consultant.
“We’re going to appropriate some money to pay for a consultant to go through every city office and facility to see how we’re doing in terms of our recycles and waste disposal,” Risner said. “The goal is to get down to where we have zero waste going into the landfill. It doesn’t hurt to have an outside auditor come in and review things and see where we can improve.”
The outside review was spurred by the Appalachia Ohio Zero Waste Initiative, which council members signed on with in 2014, according to a previous Post report.
There will also be a discussion about how to use leftover funds from the city’s pool levy, Risner said.
“There’s some of that money still left over, and (we are) able to utilize that with the community center today,” he said. “Those moneys cannot be used for anything else, they have to be exclusively for the community center.”