Using American Rescue Plan funds, the city of Roseville will be replacing its well-used dump truck.

Using American Rescue Plan funds, the city of Roseville will be replacing its well-used dump truck.

Photo provided by John Walters


Roseville using $14 million in American Rescue Plan funds for upgrades

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 28, 2021

 New construction equipment and vehicles are being purchased by the city of Roseville using American Rescue Plan funding.

New construction equipment and vehicles are being purchased by the city of Roseville using American Rescue Plan funding.

Photo provided by John Walters

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ROSEVILLE — Funds that are part of the American Rescue Plan are coming to communities across the country, including Roseville.

The funds are being sent to municipalities to help them recover from losing revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Residents can expect work to be undertaken on roads, water and sewer utilities, parks, and other city buildings and equipment beginning immediately,” City Manager Scott Adkins said.

Roseville City Controller John Walters said that the city has received half the funds, and the other half will be coming next year.

“These funds are related to the American Rescue Plan Act, which was approved in the winter. Entitlement cities were given funds, and Roseville will be getting around $14 million,” said Walters. “Half came in May of this year, and the other half will come next May. We got $7.2 million this last May, and the Department of the Treasury outlined what the money can be used for.”

Walters said that the money can be used for a variety of projects.

“They are letting cities use the money how they see fit for the most part. More guidance is expected,” he explained. “It’s done to help communities recover from COVID, so one of the provisions is that it can be used to make up for lost revenue. You can take your revenue from 2019, pre-COVID, and basically estimate that you would have a 4% increase, and then you look at the difference, and that is your revenue loss. Our courts were closed, so we had no money coming in from that. There was a moratorium on water bills, so that (revenue) wasn’t coming in. City Hall was closed for a while, so we weren’t doing inspections, so that was all revenue we weren’t making. The other money we’re using is for infrastructure improvements. We’re buying equipment for maintaining our storm system, water system and sewer system, for that reason.”

At its regular meeting July 13, the Roseville City Council approved several city equipment purchases using these funds, including several new city vehicles.

“The vehicles and other equipment are allowed because they improve infrastructure,” Walters said. “The vacuum jet pump helps us clean out a drain, for instance. The dump truck can help us haul whatever we need on various improvement or maintenance projects. We are buying a backup pump system that can help us in heavy rain events like we had a few weeks ago. They were allocated, budgeted purchases from previous years that got bumped out of the budget because of lost revenue.”

Walters said there are several other projects in Roseville that will benefit from this funding, most of which are initiatives that were delayed or canceled in previous years due to decreased revenue to the city.

“We have some IT upgrades to enable us to fix some connection issues, some camera upgrades in council chambers, and upgrades to our park bathrooms throughout the city — we’ll have automatic faucets and flushers in them,” he said. “We also have some renovations at City Hall. We’d like to separate the departments and put up some barriers between the staff and visitors so the spread of a disease will be slowed. An HVAC unit at the Police Department will be updated. We also have some money set aside for sewer line repairs and lead water pipe replacement. Some also will be set aside for outstanding water bill forgiveness programs. … We created a new fund, and none has physically been spent yet, and some is still to be decided. That’s the first half of the money, and we’ll do more work on this for the money we’ll receive next May.”

One potential complication in these improvements is that many cities are receiving this funding at the same time, so there is a rush for contractors to help implement them. City officials said they are trying to fast-track these projects so they can get the best potential workers for the best prices without delaying the projects months or even years.

“It’s going to be tough to find contractors because a lot of cities are in the same position, and they all got this money at the same time,” Walters said. “Because it’s federal money, we have to pay a prevailing wage, so there’s some hoops we have to jump through for that reason.”

Adkins said that the improvements have been looked at by Roseville officials thoroughly and are being put into action in the hope that they will greatly improve the city and the well-being of its residents.

“Residents will benefit by knowing that the city of Roseville will remain fiscally sound and also able to address many services and facility improvements that have been deferred for several years because of budgetary constraints. Following City Council approval, significant improvements to public infrastructure and facilities will now be possible,” Adkins said.

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