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La Crosse city council allocates remaining ARPA funds, projects will still need OK

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A plan is now in motion for the city’s pandemic relief after the La Crosse Common Council approved allocating the remaining dollars into loose categories Thursday night.

The plan divides the roughly $18.5 million the city has left in American Rescue Plan Act dollars into project categories. Each group has a percentage of the funding allocated, and they act as flexible guidelines that will help staff determine specific projects to spend the money on.

Each project will still need to be approved individually by the city council, though, after an amendment was added to the resolution.

“A comprehensive list of projects and/or programs by category will be submitted to the Common Council for approval prior to implementation,” the amendment reads.

Larry Sleznikow

Larry Sleznikow

Additionally, the resolution adds that staff will use guidance from city committees and boards in addition to the Common Council and community members when developing projects and programs with the funds.

“I think this is an important way to move forward with funding that we probably will never see again in the amount of millions of dollars,” said council member Larry Sleznikow.

The common council approved the allocation of the funds unanimously on Thursday.

About 60% of the funding will be spent on water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, specifically improving access to clean drinking water and expanding internet services in the city.

Housing and neighborhoods will receive about 22% of the funding, and small businesses and industries impacted economically by the pandemic will receive about 5%.

And promoting “healthy childhood environments” will receive about 13%. This group looks to improve childcare, mitigation of health disparities and living and recreation environments of children.

Community input is still welcome on how exactly to spend these dollars, and can be submitted on the city’s website or by contacting city hall.

All projects will follow the normal routing process to be approved, heading for appropriate committees for votes before going to the full common council.

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