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City of Wausau holding listening session to learn how citizens want federal funds spent

(wsaw)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:26 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The City of Wausau is taking input as to how to spend the American Rescue Plan Act funds it is receiving from the federal government. The finance committee is holding a special listening session Thursday at 5:30 to hear people’s thoughts.

The city will receive $15,000,000 in two chunks. It already received the first portion of $7,000,000. The second portion will come in 2022. Thursday’s listening session is meant to discuss how people want that first portion spent. The city held a listening session in May ahead of receiving the first round of funds, but few people attended.

A small piece of that funding is already allocated. On June 15 the city council approved $350,000 to go towards renovating The Landmark Building apartments. The building provides housing for people from low-to-moderate income levels. One of the ways ARPA funds can be used is to help people negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including housing. The council determined this allocation would be a way to increase the supply of affordable and high-quality living units that are also within a qualified census tract. The resolution also noted that lumber pricing has negatively impacted the building owner’s ability to renovate the building, jeopardizing the completion of the project.

The City will have until 2024 to make a decision on how it wants 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

People who want to comment at Thursday’s listening session can do so in person in the council chambers at City Hall. People can also attend over WeEx by calling 1-408-418-9388 with the access code 2483 672 5895 and the password wausau1. Click here to join the meeting online. To watch without comment, click here. Those who will not be attending the meeting in person, but who want to make a comment may do so by emailing mary.goede@ci.wausau.wi.us with “Finance Committee public comment” in the subject line prior to the start of the meeting.

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