83 counties make up the state of Michigan with most receiving millions in COVID-19 relief funding as part of the president's American Rescue Plan.
Domonique Clemons, a Genesee County Commissioner does not think federal COVID-19 relief funds should go to elected county officials.
“I don't think it's crossed any of our minds here in Genesee County. Certainly not mine," Clemons said.
The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners recently voted to give themselves "hazard pay" bonuses. The money added up to a total of $65,000 in federal relief money.
Some of the top payouts were for the Shiawassee County Commissioner and Chairman Jeremy Root who received $25,000. The Vice Chairman Brandon Marks and Finance Chair John Plowman each received $10,000.
"I don't believe there's any member of the board of commissioners here in Genesee County that are going to a vote to give bonuses to ourselves, primarily because we weren't the ones on the front line working it was. Folks in our health department or sheriff's department they were out doing the work keeping our community safe," Clemons said.
In total, Genesee County is set to receive $78.8 million of COVID-19 funds over the next few years. Saginaw will receive $37 million, Tuscola County $10.1 million, Midland will get $16 million, and Shiawassee will receive $13.2 million.
Besides Genesee and Shiawassee counties, the other communities said they are still waiting on how to proceed.
TV5 reach out to the Michigan Association of Counties on this topic, and they issued this statement:
“With the help of many partners, MAC has provided a trove of resources on how to utilize American Rescue Plan funds and properly comply with the federal guidance and spirit of the legislation to all of our member counties. Decisions, however, ultimately rest with the county’s board of commissioners in each county. MAC continues to work with all of our members on any questions or concerns they have with ARP funds. We have been consistently advising our members to focus on making strategic investments in their services to the public, through documents, through regular briefings for commissioners and administrators and through webinars put on by such partners as the state of Michigan and the National Association of Counties. We are not aware of any other counties considering payments to elected officials, and MAC has not provided any guidance or advice to do so.”
As for Clemons, he said Genesee County is planning to use the funds for things like tax relief for residents, the health department and even the water infrastructure. He said he doesn't plan on getting a penny.
"It's not a great optic for elected officials to be lining their pockets with the dollars that are meant to rebuild and restore these communities,” Clemons said.
Congressman Dan Kildee also does not agree with how the funds were spent in Shiawassee County.
“American Rescue Plan dollars were intended to help frontline workers and families impacted by the pandemic, not elected officials. I do not believe that the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners’ use of American Rescue Plan funds are an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars,” Kildee said.