Garfield Pool

Repairs and renovations to Danville’s Garfield Park Pool are among items the city likely will use some of its COVID-19 rescue money on.

DANVILLE — The city’s pool and mental health support in the community are a couple focuses city officials are looking at in spending its federal COVID-19 funding.

The city of Danville has received its first installment of its American Rescue Plan Act funding of about $12.3 million. It will receive the second installment a year later.

City officials said the city has until Dec. 31, 2024, to obligate the money. ARPA funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2026, according to the Illinois Municipal League.

“This money can’t just be spent willy-nilly,” Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said.

There are restrictions and it must be used for specific things, Williams said.

The city is receiving about $25 million in an American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Award, through the COVID-19 stimulus program.

Williams in May said aldermen will be asked to consider proposals for the funding in upcoming meetings.

Williams said the pool refurbishment and additional mental health support have been among items discussed with aldermen already.

According to the Illinois Municipal League, examples of what the funding can be spent on include:

Providing services and programs to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

• Testing and contact tracing efforts.

• Enforcement of public health orders.

• Purchasing personal protective equipment.

• Capital investments in public facilities to meet pandemic operational needs.

Providing services to address behavioral healthcare needs exacerbated by the pandemic:

• Hotlines and warmlines.

• Crisis intervention.

Covering payroll and benefits for employees to the extent they work on COVID-19 response:

• Full payroll and benefits for public safety employees.

Providing economic aid:

• Providing aid and job training to unemployed residents.

• Providing survivor’s benefits for family members of COVID-19 victims.

• Supporting small businesses.

• Providing aid to tourism, travel and hospitality sectors.

• Rebuilding public sector capacity.

• Replacing lost revenue.

Municipalities seeking to replace lost revenue will have to follow additional guidance by serving the hardest hit communities and families, and providing premium pay to essential workers.

Also:

Investing in water and sewer infrastructure:

• Replacing lead service lines.

• Building or upgrading facilities and transmission, distribution and storage systems.

• Constructing publicly-owned wastewater treatment infrastructure.

• Managing and treating stormwater or subsurface drainage water.

• Facilitating water reuse.

• Securing publicly-owned treatment works.

Investing in broadband infrastructure is also an element of the plan.

Municipalities cannot spend ARPA funds on:

• Replacing revenues due to a local tax cut or local tax refund enacted after March 3, 2021.

• Making pension payments.

• Funding debt service.

• Paying for legal settlements or judgments.

• Depositing into a rainy day fund or creating financial reserves.

• Spending on general infrastructure projects not authorized above, such as: park improvements; playground equipment; road and bridge maintenance.

Williams said City Treasurer Stephanie Wilson shopped around for the best interest rate for the funding.

He said he was hoping to get more aldermen feedback and suggestions on the spending of the funding prior to a public meeting on the plan.

He said he’s received some feedback already from aldermen Bob Iverson and Brenda Brown.

“It’s our job as the leaders to make decisions,” Williams said.

Ward 4 Alderman Mike O’Kane said he’s heard other cities scheduling public meetings.

“We will as well,” Williams said, adding that Danville will “absolutely have public discussion about it, too.”

He said public comments could be made at the city’s second Tuesday meeting in October, and likely at least one meeting in November.

Public discussions on the city’s budget also will start in October.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Tricia Teague said she’d like to see separate public meetings as well, not only at a city committee or council meeting.

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