Council discusses uses for remaining ARPA funds

The City of Red Oak is finalizing uses for its American Rescue Plan Act funding.
At a prior council meeting, Red Oak city administrator Kyra Smith said currently, the city had only spent $125,755 of the funding on one ambulance. All told, the city received $789,249, meaning less than half of the funding had been spent.
All the projects proposed for ARPA funding needed to be planned by 2024, and they also had to be invoiced for before 2024, or the funding had to be returned.
Smith reviewed the numbers with members of the city council and the department heads. Five items had been earmarked for funding, including a second ambulance.
Red Oak street superintendent Chris Baird advised the one project earmarked for funding was a storm water and inlet reconstruction on Easter Avenue almost doubled in price. It was estimated at $50,000 and the estimated cost was now $92,000.
“We’re looking at replacing the storm inlet boxes that are brick, and replacing the 24 inch storm pipe. The one over by Alix Street is 24” and has collapsed under the street there. We were also going to do something up on Coolbaugh Street where it floods down in the valley. That will be a major project with two new boxes, and we’ll run 200 feet of pipe to the creek. We’re looking to install a 24” pipe. Currently we’re using 12” pipe, so the size increase will move more water. It will be a good fix; it’s one of our worst areas in town,” Baird said.
Other street projects had been taken off the list. Bills said it didn’t mean the projects wouldn’t be completed, and some of the projects, Bills believed, could be funded with the normal revenue stream.
Another project considered for ARPA funds was near Oakwood Avenue, which Red Oak resident Matthew Stephens highlighted at the Red Oak council meeting Aug. 7.
Red Oak Mayor Shawnna Silvius said funding would remain problematic for the city. Red Oak currently had a smaller budget than Clarinda, Shenandoah, and Pacific Junction.
“We’ve maintained for years, and we’ve not reinvested back in to cover these capitol improvement projects. We have to look at other ways to increase revenue,” Silvius said.
Bills asked with the new figures, what the expenses were. Smith said the costs of everything had pretty much doubled, but she was still waiting for exact figures.
“We know we’re over with all of these items, but we don’t know what the 2022 ambulance will come in at, and we don’t know the final cost of the Eastern Ave. project,” Smith said.
Fire Chief John Bruce said the price for the 2022 ambulance would have a price that was locked in.
The council requested a fresh set of figures, and future review of the ARPA funds will take place at the next regular council meeting.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the hire of Logan Evans to the Red Oak Fire Department per the collective bargaining agreement of the Professional Firefighters Association Local Union # 3076, International Association of Firefighters as full-time Firefighter/Paramedic.
• Approved a resolution accepting the amendment to the Union Agreement setting negotiated base wage adjustment scale and FY 2024/2025 cost of living wage percentage with the Red Oak Professional Firefighters Association Local 3076 effective upon completion of employee evaluations.
• Held a public hearing for extinguishing and abandoning easements in the Eastern Slopes Subdivision VII for the conveyance to adjacent property owners. The council then approved extinguishing and abandoning easement in Eastern Slopes Subdivision VII in the City of Red Oak, Iowa, and providing for conveyance to adjacent property owners.
• Discussed Ordinance Chapter 90 and Chapter 135, protocol and communications with local plumbers.
• Approved a Special Class C retail alcohol five-day license expiring Oct. 11 for Top of Iowa Lucky Wife LLC at 1811 N 4th Street.

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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