A Kansas city council is drawing national backlash for voting to distribute $350,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds for the purchase of video cameras at a county soccer complex.
According to The Kansas City Star, the Overland Park city council voted last week 10-2 to purchase video equipment for the Internet broadcasting of games at the Scheels Soccer Complex.
Council members reported that the online streaming of local games can help combat the spread of COVID-19. The purchase is slated to be with the company Musco Sports Lighting and the council believes the county can receive 70% revenue from pay-for-view, on-demand or downloading of the videos, according to The Star.
“This is an appropriate program,” Councilman Chris Newlin, who is also a soccer coach at the complex, told told Fox 4 Kansas City. “We followed the rules. We filled out an application, and we asked for this.”
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Newlin said he was concerned about the lack of social distancing at games.
Faris Farassati is one of the two council members to vote against the purchase and who is still asking the council to rescind the vote approving funding. He told The Star: "When we look at the CARES Act and where this country is going with the economy, people are losing jobs. People are not able to pay rent. People are not able to pay utilities. I personally do not find it necessary to buy a bunch of expensive cameras to essentially make money."
Maury Thompson, the deputy manager for Johnson County, said the county knew the funds were eligible to go towards a video broadcasting platform, but was ultimately unaware the funds were going towards sports and a soccer complex.
“In my professional opinion and that of our national consultant who is consulting with the (U.S.) Treasury, this is clearly an allowable expense,” Thompson told The Star earlier in the week. “I understand the concerns, but this is clearly an allowable, eligible expense."
"We were not aware this was a soccer complex installation," Thompson added.
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