Foley discusses uses for American Rescue Act funds

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 9/20/21

FOLEY - The City of Foley staff has created a list of potential projects to be funded by the American Rescue Act Plan. The program, put into place by the federal government as a way to help …

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Foley discusses uses for American Rescue Act funds

Posted
FOLEY - The City of Foley staff has created a list of potential projects to be funded by the American Rescue Act Plan. The program, put into place by the federal government as a way to help municipalities recover from the pandemic, will be issuing funds in two increments. Foley received the first of these funds, just under $1.5 million, this past May. Roughly $1.5 million additional funds will be issued at a later date. The American Rescue Act Plan has limitations on how funds can be spent. City Administrator Mike Thompson said department directors have worked on a proposed project list that could potentially be funded by the Rescue Act funds. The list includes the extension of Juniper Street, which was previously delayed due to concerns over lost revenue during the pandemic, for $1.1 million; 11 various stormwater projects, ranging in scope, which amount to roughly $1.5 million; four projects totaling slightly over $1 million to invest into the hospitality industry; and nine projects estimating roughly $680,000 towards efforts to reduce pandemic spread. “When you add it all up we have a total projects from all the different directors of about $4.4 million,” said Thompson. “Again, we’ve got $2.9 million to spend, however many of these projects are also funded in the FY22 budget through our general fund as well, not all of them, but some of them. So I think between the general fund budget and these dollars that we’re getting from the federal government, we can most likely fund all of these projects.” Thompson said what he was looking for from the council was if they desired to see the department directors begin to bring the suggested projects forward for potential approval. The council showed interest in seeing the projects come to life, especially roads and stormwater improvement projects. During the meeting, one project on the list, the permission to bid and purchase a portable volleyball court for the Foley Event Center, was approved by the council. Councilmember Charlie Ebert said that the component to improve sports tourism is a relatively smaller amount than road and drainage projects, and he feels approving the sports tourism project will not negatively impact council’s ability to move larger projects forward. “Taking into account comments by the council over the past six months, particularly with our flooding events, we put a pretty high priority on the drainage projects,” Mayor Ralph Hellmich said. “Now that’s not all the ones that we’ll be doing, but this is in addition to capital projects that are outside of this scope, so in a way the council has given input and direction so I know that the directors are bringing things forward based on the comments of different council people in their areas with the problems that we’re experiencing. We’re trying to push those along as quickly as possible.”
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