City Council discusses ways to spend ARP dollars

The city of Bemidji is receiving more ARP dollars than expected.

During the work session last night, Finance Director Ron Eischens said that due to other agencies not claiming funds, the city will receive an additional $57,000 between this year and next, bringing the total to about $1.7 million in federal funding.

No formal action was taken during last night’s work session.

The council will wait for more information about other funding solutions for issues such as Cameron Park’s failing lift station.

The American Rescue Plan funding can be used in a variety of ways, such as in infrastructure, socio-economic issues and public health and safety.

City staffers recommended using the funds for a wastewater treatment plant project and advised the council against using one-time dollars for recurring expenses, such as creating more staff positions.

Parks Director Marcia Larson said she would gather the information for the failing lift station, such as costs, and information on a possible grant that would need a 50/50 match.

Mayor Jorge Prince discussed possibly collaborating with Beltrami County on some projects.

The county is able to claim $9 million in ARP funds.

Another project involved a law enforcement pilot program, which Prince said would address issues in some area neighborhoods.

The council will likely revisit the topic early in the New Year.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University.

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