FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, the council was yet again faced with a question: How do we allocate more than $50 million dollars?
The city came into this money through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which aims to help cities recover after COVID.
A few uses of these ARPA funds were finally agreed upon Tuesday.
First, a new 4,000-square-foot grocery store on Pontiac Street.
While 4,000 feet makes it a small store, it will operate in a much-needed area of southeastern Fort Wayne that is currently a food desert.
“While many others have transportation as a norm and a regular for them, there are communities that don’t,” said councilwoman Sharon Tucker. “Access is important to be able to provide basic needs.”
A new streetscape also received ARPA funds in addition to funding for projects at Brewer Park, Packard Park and Franke Park.
What did not pass is a resolution that councilman Russ Jehl has had in the works for months, which was a plan to use ARPA funds to offset the rising prices residents will pay for garbage disposal.
These rates will be rising regardless of how the ARPA funds are used, but the proposal would make the increase gradual and less detrimental for people.
“The large 10 million dollar ARPA infusion into the solid waste fund should keep the rates for the rate payer lower for a longer period of time than the administration is proposing.” said Jehl
Jehl has pitched an alternative to the city, arguing that they should do anything and everything to keep residents’ bills low.
Previously, when the council had to decide whether to go with Jehl’s proposal or the city’s in the past, they chose to push it back to this week to get more information.
On Tuesday, they decided to do the same to give Jehl and the city time to make their proposals comparable and easier to understand.
Jehl said he would meet with the city’s Public Works Director Shan Gunawardena this week so they could make the proposals easy to understand, or as councilman Glynn Hines said “apples to apples.”