The seniors’ home improvement program will likely receive more funding by the end of the month as city council members plan to vote to approve more American Rescue Plan Act funding for the community.
As the city’s remaining ARPA funding has rapidly dwindled in recent months, city council members have repeatedly discussed the need to increase funding for the popular seniors’ home improvement program. During Monday’s business session, City Council Speaker Anthony Dolce, R-Ward II, asked council to consider a proposal to allocate an additional $500,000 to the program due to the slew of requests council members have received from the people of the community.
“I’m sure we’ve all received a number of emails or calls regarding the program,” he said. “To date, we have allocated $1 million.”
Dolce explained that the city council could choose from two different options for allocating the additional ARPA funding to the program. He suggested that the city council could either allocate an additional $500,000 from remaining ARPA funding to bring the program to a total of $1.5 million, or that the council could reallocate funding from a another community home improvement program that has yet to come. “of the ground.”
Regardless of how the funding might be allocated, Dolce stressed the importance of providing the additional funding for the Seniors Home Improvement Program so that all eligible applicants can receive funds.
During Monday’s business session, the finance committee also asked full council how it should proceed with the city administration’s proposal for the 19A homeownership program. While city council members discussed concerns over the city’s entry into the real estate sector, the majority of council agreed the scheme could benefit the community by providing an alternative to demolition for properties that may be improved with an initial investment from the city and sold to new owners at a reasonable price and for a possible profit.
Nonetheless, with ARPA funds dwindling, City Council members agreed that the program’s funding proposal should be reduced from the requested $750,000 to $500,000. Despite the reduction in funding for the 19A homeownership program, the city administration has indicated that the program will still be able to move forward successfully.
With $250,000 less expected to be allocated to the 19A homeownership program, Dolce urged the council to use the funding to help fund the remaining $500,000 for the people’s home improvement program. elderly.
“My suggestion tonight is that if we take the $250,000 from the 19A program, cut it in half, and then you allocate an additional $250,000 from ARPA to bring the senior housing program to $1.5 million. dollars, and you still have the remaining $500,000. for the other program, he said.
At Dolce’s suggestion, the other members of city council agreed that the best way to allocate funds for the seniors home improvement program would be to use the $250,000 from the home ownership program property 19A in conjunction with an additional $250,000 of unallocated ARPA funding.
Mayor Eddie Sundquist said the city administration will adjust the proposals to reflect city council’s direction on reallocating remaining ARPA funding before the next November voting session.
Dolce said the increased funding for the Seniors Home Improvement Program will help City Council go one step further to meet community needs that were discussed before ARPA funding. not be allocated.
“That was one of the key things we heard last summer in the four meetings we had, getting the money into the hands of residents and neighborhoods as much as we could,” Dolce said. “We tried to move this material. We have touched everything. We’ve touched on public safety, we’ve got housing, development, just about every corner of the different categories.
Councilman Jeff Russell, R-At Large, said the city administration and council have done “a pretty good job distributing ARPA money fairly to a variety of departments and programs.