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Wausau hosts a listening session for American Rescue Plan funding

The money will be coming to the city in two installments.
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The City of Wausau is receiving more than $15,000,000 of relief funding from the American Rescue Plan. The money will be coming to the city in two installments. One payment of about $7,000,000 is expected within the coming weeks, the second is expected in 2022. The City will have until 2024 to make a decision on how they want to use the funds. In order for the city to use the money, they need to use these guidelines:

• Revenue replacement for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, relative to revenues collected in the most recent fiscal year prior to the emergency

• COVID-19 expenditures or negative economic impacts of COVID-19, including assistance to small businesses, households, and hard-hit industries, and economic recovery

• Premium pay for essential workers

• Investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure

On Wednesday, the City of Wausau held a listening session with community members to hear some ideas of where to allocate the funds. Some people suggested items like helping to make homes worth more and helping to increase property value. Others thought the money should help community members in need.

“Try to address homelessness, see if we as a community can aid in those efforts,” Wausau resident John Robinson said.

Some suggested giving some money to programs that offer outreach to diverse communities in Wausau.

“You should be able to give people the ability to be self-sufficient and independent in their own way of living,” Wausau resident Chris Norfleet said.

Other options suggested were tourism, and broadband development, among others.

“I think we need to be creative. But you need to do it within the confines of what the federal government will allow,” said Robinson.

Mayor Katie Rosenberg said the first listening session went well. In fact, most of the items that were brought up have been discussed by the city already.

“It seems like we are on the same page at least with the people that are showing up to give us their feedback and the people who are emailing. So I feel really good about that,” Mayor Rosenberg said.

The City of Wausau has more listening sessions in store for the future, so people who have not spoken out yet can make their voices heard.

“We want to make sure that we hear from people on the front end instead of scurrying around and having them react to something we already do so we’ll have lots of chances for them to sound off,” Mayor Rosenberg said.

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