City Consider How To Spend Rescue Funds | News, Sports, Jobs

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Dam repair, water pipe replacement, pool improvements and bike paths.

These ideas were among ideas recently launched in a second working session by city officials on how best to use the city’s $ 25.4 million allocation of US bailout funds. .

These are funds distributed to cities as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and should not be used to reduce debt or fund pensions.

Instead, they can be used to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors to Williamsport.

These are taxpayer funds, so Mayor Derek Slaughter has said he wants to ensure a transparent process on how it will be spent.

“It gives us teeth to bring some of these projects to fruition”, Slaughter said.

The big items include around $ 2 million for repairs to the sea wall and its pumping stations, including a study by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Another hot topic is the repair of Splash Cove, the Memorial Park swimming pool, which has been closed for two years.

The pandemic shut down operations for a year, then a major leak was discovered which is being repaired, according to Slaughter.

The pool requires liner and other maintenance. The city has a pool maintenance fund of around $ 100,000, but that will not cover all the expenses.

Another idea is for the city to add wading pools or water parks, an estimated cost of $ 1.5 million for two, he said.

Public safety needs remain a priority, such as the search for body cameras by the police, the purchase of vehicles and radios, and the firefighters needing a new aerial truck, which is estimated to cost $ 2, Only $ 2 million.

City police are studying how to finance the replacement of police radios, the purchase of body cameras to protect officers and the public during patrols and investigations, and rent or purchase vehicles, Police Chief Justin Snyder said. .

Slaughter said he wanted further elimination of the scourge and that one solution would be to fund the Redevelopment Authority to allow the authority to begin the process of acquiring properties that are not repaired and deemed devastated.

The redevelopment authority has long been involved in mitigating degraded properties, said Skip Memmi, the city’s director of economic and community development.

Typically, the process is for code enforcement to publish the property and the owners have some time to remedy the situation, he said.

City Councilor Liz Miele, an avid cyclist, said the city may also be able to allocate some of the funds to better designate bike lanes and routes through the city center to more easily connect to the Susquehanna Riverwalk.

City Councilor Jon Mackey has expressed a desire to see some of the funds go towards improving baseball fields, such as the ones in Brandon Park.

Board chairman Randall J. Allison said he had been approached by Elm Park officials who told him they would like to see a Challenger League, which would be for players with special needs. This idea was seen as an idea to explore.

The administration and council are also seeking public input and posting a community survey on the city’s website.

US bailout funds are part of a $ 1.3 trillion package signed in March by President Joe Biden to help communities across the state recover from the losses and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic . They cannot be used to reduce debt or pay for city pensions.

The city has put $ 12.7 million in the bank, Slaughter said, and expects an additional $ 12.7 million in late April or early May.

The city has until 2024 to allocate the funds and 2026 to spend them.

A community survey is on the city’s website, to get public input on ideas on how to spend the funds.

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