Warren council to hear public input about federal aid spending

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published April 21, 2021

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WARREN — Warren is expected to receive a total of $28 million in federal relief tied to the massive American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Before the first half arrives in May, Warren City Council President Pat Green said he wants to hear directly from residents about their priorities and how best to spend the money.

The City Council was scheduled to hold a virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. on April 21. Residents are invited to join by Zoom videoconference to make their voices heard.

“Over the past few weeks, I have met with residents who have given some great ideas on how these relief funds should be spent,” Green said in a release announcing the meeting.

After Warren Mayor Jim Fouts presented his proposed fiscal year 2021-2022 city and water budgets to members of the City Council on April 12, Green said the federal aid funds should be spent in approved ways that also fall in line with the city’s “policy priorities.”

“The Brookings Institute put out a really good chart. It’s like any other budget,” Green said. “What’s your current needs? What are our future needs? What are our recreational and lifestyle needs? Can I lower my legacy costs? How is it best instituted to have a long-term impact on residents and also an immediate impact?”

Warren was expected to receive $14,114,408 in May and the balance of its allotment in May 2022.

In Center Line, City Manager Dennis Champine said one of Macomb County’s smallest municipalities would receive a total of $803,000 — half now, and half next year.

Champine said the guidelines for using the money, while vague, “tend to say the money needs to go to COVID-19 related expenditures, which includes public safety.”

“So that is where we are planning on putting the funds received,” Champine said. “Savings due to that are to be used on infrastructure, buildings and grounds improvements, such as roof repairs/replacements, parking lots and playscapes, to name a few.”

Champine stressed that public input is also important in Center Line.

“We have done a lot of surveys and public input gatherings in the past two years and already understand what is important to our taxpayers with regard to where they think the extra funding should go,” Champine said.   

The $1.9 trillion ARPA, which passed Congress in March, included $362 billion in assistance to territories, states, counties, municipalities and tribal governments, including more than $10 million for those in Michigan.

To join the Warren City Council’s Zoom session at 6:30 p.m. April 21, click on the “join a meeting” tab at www.zoom.us and enter 981 7989 1597 as the Meeting ID. The passcode for the meeting is 586038.