By Tristate Hompage

EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) The City of Evansville has finalized the budget for 2021, and money is tight due to COVID-19.

The budget passed 6-3, with councilmembers Justin Elpers, Missy Mosby, and Jonathan Weaver voting againt.

The biggest controversy Monday night is whether or not money should be cut from affordable housing, a motion which was not passed.

Before Monday night’s meeting, the local group called Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment (CAJE) held a caravan to protest the proposed amendment.

CAJE says the money needs to stay where it is, especially since so many people have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Good housing, decent housing for people provides better economic status, people can keep their jobs, kids can do better in school because they’re in affordable… They’re in stable housing, so it’s really important,” says Joseph Easley.

Money paid to the City of Evansville by the Tropicana casino is down due to COVID. Several initiatives are supported by that money, including the Affordable Housing Fund.

The past few years, half a million dollars was allotted for affordable housing. Council member Justin Elpers proposed this amount be cut in half, something that did not sit well with several people at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Their argument: more housing developments would bring in more jobs and revenue for the city.

Revitalization led to conversations of blighted homes, poor living conditions, and absent landlords –something both Councilwoman Missy Mosby and Council President Alex Burton say is a pressing issue. Community members agree.

Only Justin Elpers was in favor of cutting the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Adjustments to the budget will still need to be made since the casino is predicted to bring in nearly 30 percent less money than last year.

View the original story here.