Warren asks for input on relief fund | News, sports, jobs

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WARREN – City residents and businesses alike will have several options to comment on how Warren should allocate his $ 28.6 million American Recovery Plan Award.

It only received more than $ 14.3 million last month.

The city is working to get public opinions on the use of ARP funds. So she put a poll on her website www.warren.org on August 2nd. published that outlines the categories that she wants to address with this one-time action Federal Cash Injection.

“It is very important for us to get input from our residents and local businesses”, Mayor Doug Franklin said. “We want this to be a truly community-based strategy that will guide our decision-making process in using these funds.”

Using a 1 to 5 system, the survey asks respondents to rate the importance of a variety of topics, including community facilities; Community service; economic development; Housing, homeless and rehabilitation services; and public improvements. The survey also provides a box for respondents to write a paragraph in telling what they think is important.

In addition to the online survey, residents receive the same survey in their electricity bill mailings.

“We are planning a face-to-face meeting on August 18th at 5pm at the Packard Music Hall.” said Franklin. “We plan at least three face-to-face meetings, but the locations of the next two meetings will be determined by the reaction we get from the first meeting. We can change the location to a smaller venue if we don’t have a lot of people the first time we meet, or keep it at Packard Music Hall if there’s a lot of interest. “

Administrative officials have had some preliminary discussions about the use of these funds.

For example, she decided to use part of the funds to buy a new fire truck.

With the federal government debating a new infrastructure bill, Franklin does not want to use the ARP funds for infrastructure improvements that it may be able to fund with those new funds.

“Of course we will use some of these dollars to help companies that have been and may still be affected by the negative economic effects of the pandemic.” said Franklin. “We were able to help some companies through the CARES law.”

The city is also determining how those funds can be used to address housing and quality of life issues, including improving city parks and other public spaces, Franklin said.

“We look at projects where we may have had difficulties with funding in our annual budget,” he said.

Franklin said he is in constant touch with members of the Ohio Mayors Alliance, which represents the 30 largest communities in Ohio, about how each is engaging the public and how they are using the funds.

“We have bi-weekly Zoom meetings” said Franklin.

The administration hopes to have gathered all information from the public meetings, online and written surveys by mid-September.

“After we have gathered all the data, we will hold committee meetings with the council to discuss the information we have analyzed and to make our recommendations.” said Franklin. “This is part of the process that we’re going to use to create a budget.”

After taking the survey, Councilor Greg Greathouse, D-3rd Ward, said he was surprised the questions weren’t more detailed.

“It is a high-level passing on of the topics” said Greathouse. “You can vote on these five things. I imagined two or three steps. “

Alderman Ken MacPherson, D-5th Ward, said it was less than suitable for getting information from local residents about what to do with the restoration funds.

“I would have liked a little more specific” said MacPherson. “I liked the reviews and gave the respondents the opportunity to express their opinion.”

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