City’s ARPA funds to be used on several water and sewer projects

Tess Nelson
The Red Oak Express

Red Oak City Administrator Brad Wright informed the council on how the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will be used during the Oct. 3 regular meeting. The City of Red Oak has received $778,000 in ARPA funds to be used on projects where the city has claimed “lost revenue” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wright’s projects total nearly $896,000 and include a digital mapping system of the city’s water system, where a company will come in and copy the current water maps onto a digital system. Wright also wants the funds to be used for a G Avenue water extension project on the west side of town, which is a water main that needs extending; the replacement of a bad water valve at the intersection of Broadway and Maple Street and a water main project on the south end of town on South 4th Street from Oakwood to Park Avenues.
Installing a water insertion valve system, a water and storm sewer project on Eastern Avenue, and replacing six-to-eight storm inlets around the community at a price of roughly $6,500 per inlet are also on Wright’s list. This is in addition to using roughly $260,000 in ARPA funds on two new ambulances.
Red Oak Mayor Shawnna Silvius said she would like to use about $15,000 of ARPA funds on improving council chambers and council meetings. She added she had spoken to officials with the state auditor’s office on whether her upgrades qualify and received word they did.
 “I was going to propose that we look at some furniture that is portable for council meetings and include speakers for those that are on Zoom who can’t hear, microphones so the audience can hear, and possibly some A/V upgrades,” said Silvius.
Wright replied, “We had no lost revenue that we could point to, so then I believe you’re limited to the infrastructure type things that are identified, that’s my understanding; I could be wrong but I’ve worked with John McCurdy from SWIPCO in trying to get clarification on some of those. It opens up the scope if you can identify lost revenue and again, as we went through this and tried to track revenues as we were going through COVID; frankly, we didn’t have lost revenue.”
Councilman Brian Bills volunteered to contact McCurdy with SWIPCO to double check on whether or not Silvius’ recommendations could be considered “lost revenue.”
Also at the meeting, members of the council approved funding recommendations from members of the city’s Tourism and Recreation Committee.
Eleven organizations in Red Oak were granted monies from the city’s seven-cent tax on hotel and motel rooms. Projects aimed at increasing community development were able to apply for the funds.
City councilperson Jeanice Lester, who serves on the committee, briefed the council prior to the approval.  
“We had different things, we had some same things. It’s always interesting to see what ideas people come up with,” said Lester.  “A lot of times we don’t have enough money and so we kind of prorate it to a percentage if they qualify.”
Lester added that as long as the project is, “truly is for Red Oak” it is approved.
The Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association was approved for $670 for the reprinting of Heritage Hill brochures; $2,200 for Phase 1 of the Marketing and Tourism Committee’s Plaque Project for 26 historic downtown buildings; $26,300 for the 2023 Junction Days; and $4,600 for the upcoming holiday season events.
Two ROAD committee projects were approved; one for $700 for downtown planter box project materials and $7,000 for the first of seven murals to be done downtown.
The Save Our Depot committee was also approved for two projects; $6,160 for spray foam in the attic of the Burlington Northern Depot and $12,700 to update the depot so it is ADA accessible.
The Red Coach Inn’s annual Stay & Play initiative was granted $12,000; $3,622 was awarded to the Wilson Performing Arts Center for a new artistic fitness program; and lastly, the Red Oak Optimists were awarded $10,000 for a LED digital sign for the Red Oak High School.


The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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