The Goshen Common Council on Tuesday passed a resolution outlining how the city wants to spend funding for its US bailout.
Goshen received nearly $ 6.7 million from the federal COVID relief act, and the vast majority – around $ 5.1 million – will go to infrastructure projects.
This could include improvements to water supply and sanitation systems, but municipal authorities are awaiting passage of the federal infrastructure bill before proposing specific projects.
The second largest allocation is $ 700,000 for homelessness services and addiction and behavioral health treatment.
The city wants to hire a full-time homeless outreach coordinator to “directly engage the homeless, assess their needs and coordinate service delivery.” The station would be overseen by the Goshen Police Department.
“They have a person who is an officer who has a lot of experience working with the homeless population,” Deputy Mayor Mark Brinson said at the council meeting on Tuesday. “They would also work with local agencies to provide services – so it’s not an executing role, it’s actually a community service role.”
The post would be funded by PRA dollars for three years and reassessed at the end of that period to determine whether the program should continue.
The city will also partner with the Elkhart County Department of Health to contract with local mental health and addiction treatment providers, with a particular focus on opioid addiction services and to methamphetamine.
The city has allocated $ 300,000 to local nonprofits, with priority given to organizations addressing food insecurity, childcare for low-income families, homelessness, loss of life, income or residents’ connection to health services.
A total of $ 150,000 will go to public art projects “to respond to the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” and “to help local artists recover from the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic ”.
“It also helps improve the appearance of the city,” said Brinson. “It also attracts visitors who support our tourism industry, which has also been hit hard by the pandemic. ”
The Goshen Public Library will receive $ 100,000 to purchase new public computers, which Brinson says “have been heavily used during the pandemic.”
The city has also allocated $ 200,000 for improved ventilation of public buildings and $ 100,000 for incentives to vaccinate city employees. The city plans to form a Grant Advisory Committee to review and score ARP grant applications.
Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said the finance plan estimates are a good representation of the city’s priorities, but they could change as projects get underway.
“We could go back to the board and say, ‘Okay, we got $ 150,000 out of this that we don’t think we can spend before the deadline. Do you want to transfer this to the utilities? Do you want to turn that into behavioral health? ” he said. “We can have these conversations.”
The city has until the end of 2024 to commit the ARP funds and until the end of 2026 to spend them in full. The city received the first half of its funding in May and included it in the 2022 budget.
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