Joe Motil

Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime community advocate who has been circulating petitions to run for mayor in the 2023 May primary election stated that, “City Council and Mayor Ginther have not spent one dime of the taxpayers federally allocated $187 million of American Rescue Plan funds to help address our city’s affordable housing crisis, but without a blink of the eye will shell out $900,000 to upgrade the Convention Center's ventilation system.”

Columbus City Council along with the blessing of Ginther’s Development Department, approved of a $900,000 ARP expenditure  at tonight’s City Council meeting to improve the Greater Columbus Convention Centers HVAC system. And although Mr. Motil testified that “I am not completely against the use of $900,000 to pay for the upgrading, but what continues to dismay and irritate me is that not one dime of the $187 million dollars of city of Columbus taxpayer ARP funds has been spent on providing not even one unit of affordable housing for an individual with an annual income of $35,000 or less. And not one dime of these ARP funds has been spent on affordable housing period.”      

Motil stated, “Since March of 2020 and June of this year, 33,000  evictions were filed in Franklin County and 17,000 were filed in Columbus alone between March of 2020 and August of 2021. Because the Mayor was too shortsighted to calculate the need for a larger bond package for affordable housing in 2019, that 2019 $50 million affordable housing bond package hethe mayor boasted about back then has been depleted since early this year.  Therefore the City has gone seven months without being able to assist low-income non-profit affordable housing developers with bond funds, and the City will not be able to assist with any bond funds until next year as long as the November 2022 affordable housing bond package passes.”

Motil further commented, “All the while, the Mayor and this City Council continue to hoard about $135 million that remain of the taxpayers' ARP funds while depriving thousands of individuals their right to decent housing.  And why hasn’t the Mayor or this City Council chosen to get together with their Democratic Party Franklin County Commissioner colleagues on combining no less than $60 million each of taxpayer ARP funds towards affordable housing? And where is Intel and The Columbus Partnerships investments into our affordable housing crisis?  

Mr. Motil concluded, “Individuals, families and the homeless are suffering and can’t wait for zoning changes, CRA set aside reform in exchange for tax abatements, a November affordable housing bond package and short-term solution grants and rental assistance. Allocating ARP funds for affordable housing is far from “advocating for progressive policies” as stated by Councilwoman Favor. It is plain and simple logic. Affordable housing advocates and others throughout the city have been pleading for these funds to be spent for affordable housing for over a year now. Waiting any longer is not an option.” Motil testified,  “Columbus citizens and I deserve an explanation tonight as to why not a dime of these funds have been allocated towards building affordable housing units. And that explanation came in typical fashion. Silence.”