Milwaukee City Council approves $96.9 million federal aid allocation
The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday approved a recommendation to allocate $96.9 million of the $197.1 million in the second tranche of federal aid with a focus on maintaining city service levels.
This time, the plan is to support financial sustainability across the city by pumping money into public lighting infrastructure and housing programs.
The proposal presented at the board meeting noted that $75 million of the second tranche of America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds would be used as a provision for loss of revenue in 2023 so that city departments would not are not hindered and as a means of consolidating the city’s pension. peak.
During 2023 and 2024, $9.4 million of the tranche is to be used for housing programs and $2.5 million for administrative and compliance staff. The money will be used to support several housing programs, including strong housing loans, housing infrastructure preservation fund and code compliance loans, as well as provide funds for demolition and deconstruction efforts and the management of foreclosed properties held by Milwaukee.
In a key change to the committee-level recommended spending allocation last week, aldermen highlighted the importance to Milwaukee’s quality of life of improving the city’s aging streetlight infrastructure.
“The people of Milwaukee — across the city — deserve to have those lights on and not just a few nights, not just in the summer, but in the fall, in the winter, in the spring,” Ald said. Marina Dimitrijevic said after the board meeting.
Aldes. JoCasta Zamarripa and Russell W. Stamper co-sponsored a proposed change to the original allocation made at a committee meeting last week — allocating $10 million to replacing street light circuits. The city also allocated funds from the first tranche of ARPA funding to address street lighting issues.
During the board meeting, Alds. Ashanti Hamilton, Robert Bauman, Scott Spiker and Mark Borkowski have asked to be named co-sponsors of the surrogate resolution.
Zamarripa, along with Dimitrijevic, City Council President José G. Pérez, and Jerrel Kruschke, the acting commissioner of the Department of Public Works, discussed next steps for the city’s streetlights.
“I strongly believe that one of our essential municipal services is to simply keep the lights on and that’s what the entire council has agreed to do with the $10 million in the second round of funding,” said said Zamarripa.
The plan to upgrade Milwaukee’s street lighting system will include 79,000 streetlights across the city, according to Kruschke.
On a table, the commissioner laid out a few examples of what caused circuit problems across the city: tree roots growing around circuits, aging infrastructure, frayed wires and lightning strikes, to name a few. -ones.
“Some of these layers that exist in the ground are almost 100 years old,” Kruschke said. “If there’s a single pinhole that happens in one of those cables, it fails.”
He also noted that the first installment of ARPA money dedicated to solving the streetlight problem led to action on 13 of the city’s worst circuits, which had reports totaling about 420 problems per year. On an annual basis, the city has 3,000 unrest.
The second installment will aim to address 16 circuits that have 417 reported problems per year.
The construction of streetlights of the first tranche of money will take place between 2023 and 2024. The second tranche of 10 million dollars will be designed in 2023 and 2024.
Kruschke expects to see the results of construction work between 2025 and 2026.
“We are decades, if not hundreds of years behind on paying this bill,” Dimitrijevic said. “We are dealing with deferred maintenance and now is the time.”
But with the award of the $10 million, Dimitrijevic sees it as a step in the right direction.
“It’s a huge dent in what is a big bill that’s been deferred, but it’s also going to lighten the load,” Dimitrijevic said.
This all comes after the board’s finance and personnel committee delayed approving the creation of an ARPA working group. Last weekfollowing concerns about the composition of the working group.
Former Mayor Tom Barrett has approved the long-awaited first tranche of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act at the end of last yearallocating approximately $180 million in council-approved spending for affordable housing, lead paint reduction and pandemic response – among other citywide initiatives.
The council now only requires Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s signature to begin disbursing funds when they arrive in the next month. The mayor has until the close of business May 19 to approve the proposal.