Mayor Donna Deegan plans to spend over $25 million on a variety of issues that came up during transition meetings with the public. Deegan wants to use federal funds left over from COVID-19 and other city money to pay for programs ranging from housing, public safety, recreation and more.
City council members started going over the plan line by line on Tuesday during a finance committee meeting. The mayor’s staff believes it will eventually get approved.
“I believe the council will support the projects in the end. They may have some amendments, idea changes and we’re open to those ideas,” said Scott Wilson with the mayor’s office.
The work done at Tuesday’s meeting covered much but not all of the plans for the $25 million.
Here are some examples of how Deegan wants to spend some of the money left over from COVID-19 federal grants:
Nearly $5.8 million on youth and family programsMoney for city pools and how to pay for lifeguards to keep them open in the summerNearly $5 million on home ownership programs to keep people in houses instead of becoming homeless
That included nearly $1 million to help people pay for new roofs on homes, so they don’t lose insurance coverage and possibly end up on the streets. Council members had questions on each issue.
Finance Committee Chairman Nick Howland said, “There are a number of concerns. One, is this the proper role of government is to have a given thought to how they’ve come up with these numbers specifically, or are they just numbers that kind of fit?”
When asked if this is political, Howland responded, “There’s nothing political about being a good steward of taxpayer dollars.”
While this is Mayor Deegan’s initiative, it’s up to the council to decide if they’re going to fund it. We should know what the council decides in December.