Wausau deciding how to use American Rescue Plan funds
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The City of Wausau is deciding how to use its American Rescue Plan funds after receiving about $15 million to help with programs and projects affected by COVID-19.
At their April 12 meeting they had five approved projects including broadband expansion, courthouse improvements and involvement in the Community Partners Campus.
Any outside people or organizations that want to contribute ideas have to go through an application process. Ben Lee is on the Affordable Housing Task Force and said it’s important to keep records of where the money goes.
“When it comes time to report to the federal government on how we’re using these dollars, who’s using them, they have that filing put in place then,” Lee said.
Lee says the funding is a unique opportunity to solve issues in the community.
“This is once-in-a-lifetime dollars that our community is seeing and so we have to be smart with it,” Lee said.
Some of the money is already used. A portion went to dealing with the PFAS in the groundwater, but Wausau Finance Director Maryanne Groat says the Finance Committee is being taking advice to be cautious and not spend too quickly.
“You hate to spend it all, and then have federal programs come in that would have done the same thing,” Groat said.
Last year the city had public hearings where people in the community could voice issues they think are most important to address.
“They were mainly related to low-income housing projects, affordable housing projects,” Groat said.
The Affordable Housing Task Force is pleased that it’s a priority and met Wednesday to discuss recommendations they could make to City Council that will help improve the shortage of affordable places to live.
“Housing in Marathon County is not affordable, based on the cost of living here and the livable wages,” Lee said. “The goal is to create long-lasting impact in our community.”
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