HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – After Hinds County did not apply for the latest round of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, some Hinds County supervisors blamed Board President Credell Calhoun for the application not being submitted.
The funds would have given Hinds County $17 million more in federal aid.
Supervisor Robert Graham, District 1, sent a statement to WJTV 12 News.
I was not informed by the President of the Board, Credell Calhoun, that a deadline for the ARP reimbursement was approaching. Credell Calhoun is responsible for all documents coming into the county and all documents going out of the county which requires his signature. You can not blame this on our attorneys. The bottom line is that Credell Calhoun fumbled the ball as it relates to the reimbursement issue, that might cost the county 17 million dollars.Robert Graham, Hinds County Supervisor
“There’s five board members. All of us should have been informed that there was a possibility that we may miss the deadline,” said Supervisor David Archie, District 2.
According to County Administrator Kenneth Wayne Jones, the decision not to apply for this round was based on a point scale that the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) applies to counties receiving funds. Hinds County received a low score and waiting to apply in the second round could be advantageous.
According to Calhoun, he was not aware that the application was not going to be submitted.
“My folks had changed to look at getting it in a different time, and I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I thought they were proceeding to do it now,” Calhoun said. “We are doing all we can to fix the water system in the City of Jackson, and we will continue to do that.”
Jones acknowledged that he may not have communicated the strategy to the rest of the Board.
“Regardless of a score, they still had an opportunity to apply, and they failed to do so, and it’s unacceptable,” said State Rep. Christopher Bell (D-District 65).
Reactions to the strategy have been unpopular among many, but some leaders believe this could work.
“I understand people’s interest in anxiousness and getting stuff fixed. You can’t just throw money at the situation. There needs to be a thoughtful process put together,” said State Senator John Horhn (D-District 26).
Calhoun said the county should not be negatively impacted by not applying for the funds.
The next application round in 2023 will be for any remaining funds.