CLEVELAND — On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved the usage of $26.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds that will be used to purchase equipment for the city’s Safety Department.
Of the $26.3 million, $10.2 million was allocated for the Division of Police, $7.8 million for EMS, $4.8 million for Safety IT and $3.6 million for Fire.
An additional $80.3 million was approved for the Departments of Community and Economic Development and $15 million for the Department of Building and Housing.
Members of City Council said they wanted to expedite the process of purchasing safety vehicles, most notably ambulances. During a hearing before Monday’s full council meeting, members voted to wave a requirement that expenditures of $50,000 must come before Council for approval. The exemption only applied to safety equipment and not other items.
“We know that the pandemic has caused a shortage of computer chips and other things,” said Councilmember Blaine Griffin, who will become City Council president in January. “We have already experienced a delay in getting our firetrucks and other safety equipment because of the shortage. We need to move on safety.”
According to a detailed list of expenditures released by City Council on Tuesday, the city plans on using ARPA funds to buy 15 ambulances and five SUVs for the Division of EMS.
The Division of Police is set to purchase 45 SUVs, 10 sedans, four pickup trucks, a SWAT vehicle and a 30-passenger bus.
The Division of Animal Control is set to purchase three new vehicles.
Additionally, City Council allocated the Safety IT funds to purchase cameras to be installed citywide.
The City of Cleveland is set to receive $511 million in federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Previously, $108 million has been allocated to the city’s general fund to cover pandemic-related losses to the budget.
Funds can be used for many things, including covering pandemic losses, infrastructure, education, housing and more. Municipalities have until the end of 2024 to allocate and end of 2026 to spend ARPA funds. Cleveland had more funds allocated through ARPA than any other Ohio city and was just one of eight cities nationally to have more than $500 million allocated.
Details on how the city will spend $26.3 million in safety equipment is available on the City Council’s website.