The city of Bakersfield first revealed its plan of roughly $ 94.5 million in funding which it partially received as part of a federal coronavirus stimulus package.
The increase in the city’s resources is expected to affect almost every facet of city life, from homelessness to water conservation.
At a meeting on Wednesday, the Bakersfield city manager’s office presented its first report to city council on the funding framework.
“I truly believe this is an opportunity for the board to do transformative work as we emerge from the pandemic,” City Councilor Andrae Gonzales said at the meeting.
The council has also taken action on a number of other items, including expanding the Kaiser Permanente Sports Village. However, an agreement to commission two works of art that would attempt to break world length records has been pursued.
The American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden in March authorized $ 1.9 trillion in federal spending. Some of that money was earmarked for local municipalities for a huge list of expenses meant to get the country out of the pandemic with a strong economy.
In his initial plan to spend his share of the federal stimulus, Bakersfield outlined spending millions that will tackle long-simmering issues. Most of the funding, $ 21 million, has been earmarked for direct costs related to the city’s COVID-19 efforts, such as emergency services responding to someone with the virus.
But other funding priorities have little or no connection to the pandemic. The city’s second-highest spending is $ 18 million for affordable housing, with an additional $ 8 million for homeless services.
The city plans to spend $ 6 million for water infrastructure projects and an additional $ 3 million for broadband Internet access.
Even community development in disadvantaged neighborhoods received $ 9.2 million as part of the city’s original plan.
“These funds are intended to help communities pivot and recover from the pandemic, as well as to address certain issues of populations potentially disproportionately affected by the effects of the pandemic,” said Chief Executive Officer Christian Clegg.
The city has received about half of the funds and expects to receive the second half within 12 months.
As part of phase IV of the Kaiser Permanente Sports Village development plan, the city approved a $ 12.4 million contract with JTS Construction for the construction of five football fields with lighting and seating.
When completed, four temporary football pitches now on site will be converted into football pitches to complement the 12 already on site. A concession stand and washrooms will also be built to serve attendees.
JTS Construction was the lower of the other two bidders, each costing over $ 1 million more.
The measure of public safety and vital services, a $ 3 million grant from the National Park Service, and regional park fees will help pay for the expansion.
“This village will benefit the whole community,” Councilor Patty Gray said at the meeting. “There are many, many children who will benefit. “
The council was prepared to pay local artist John Barge III $ 30,000 to paint a 150-foot-long tribute to the Bakersfield Police Department which would be the longest painting in contemporary art of a blue ribbon with a 350-foot painting of the Kern River Canal, said to be the longest of a river canal.
However, some aspects of the agreement between Barge and the city had to be reworked, which resulted in the item being withdrawn from the agenda.
Barge first offered the paintings to the city in June, and the council was keen to showcase Bakersfield culture through the artwork.
The paintings will feature gold leaf and Swarovski crystals in addition to other gemstones. The city has not determined a final domicile for the paintings once they are completed.
The city expects to bring the article back at a later date.
You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You can also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.