Duluth City Councilors weigh in on American Rescue Plan spending | www.WDIO.com

Duluth City Councilors weigh in on American Rescue Plan spending

Ryan Juntti
Updated: June 07, 2021 10:45 PM
Created: June 07, 2021 10:12 PM

City of Duluth leaders are calling on the city council to find out how they feel nearly $60 million in federal dollars should be spent.

The City of Duluth will receive over $58 million from President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

The City of Duluth has received $29 million with the other half expected next May.

The money can be used to address public health and economic impacts, provide premium pay for essential workers, replace lost public sector revenue to avoid cuts to government services, and make investments in infrastructure.

As far as how councilors feel the money should be spent, they brought up using the funds to increase broadband access, address affordable housing, and support small businesses, among other things.

All of those would fall under the categories allowed for the spending previously mentioned.

City of Duluth Finance Director Jen Carlson stressed the importance of having a well-thought-out plan before spending.

"We just need to be really mindful in whatever we spend these funds on. This is only revenue for one time, and so if we spend it on a project that is going to create ongoing expenditures, we're going to need a mechanism in place to pay for anything ongoing," said Carlson. 

The funds can't be used for street repairs, or to replenish reserves, as they weren't projects directly impacted by COVID.

"We need to be able to justify how the project was caused by COVID, and how in using this funding is going to solve that problem that COVID caused, and so that's the difficult part with the guidelines," said Carlson. 

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson says she hopes to provide recommendations to the council about how to use the funds by the middle of July.

Payments need to be made before the end of the year in 2026.

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Ryan Juntti

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