St. Joseph County Council overrides veto blocking health grant

NOW: St. Joseph County Council overrides veto blocking health grant

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The St. Joseph County Council voting 7-1 overriding the veto of a federal health grant. The grant along with the 2022 city budget was passed at a special meeting Wednesday night - after county commissioners voted against both just last week.

“The fact that we’re even here considering not appropriating this money is ridiculous and I think it’s nothing less than a public disservice," said Joseph Canarecci, Council Member.

The council voted 7-1 to override vetoes that blocked the county health department from using the 3-million-dollar federal grant.

“I feel like it was the right thing to do in this situation and now we will move forward and hopefully be in a position to immensely help our community," said Rafael Morton, County Council President.

The grant funds which are provided by the CDC would go towards hiring 8 new health care workers to help fight COVID-19 specifically in minority communities and it’s something Morton says is paramount.

“It’s extremely important because you’re talking about a segment of our population who in a lot of cases do not have the access to the proper healthcare," said Morton.

The decision to override the veto drew much controversy after county commissioners voted against the grant last week due to concerns they’d be obligated to implement vaccine and mask policies based on the federal government instead of local authorities. Despite this, the council says they’re not too worried about it because they feel they made the right decision for the community.

“They attach strings to our CDC, but they also attach strings to everything else we have. The ARP, the money, and the COVID money and if we don’t believe the strings they attach are appropriate we can go ahead with our own money and say bye bye federal government," said Richard Pfeil, Council Member.

The budget for next year was also passed Wednesday which did include raises for many county employees.

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