Harrisburg has decided to allocate a portion of its federal COVID relief funds to its public safety departments.
During a legislative session on Tuesday, the city council approved the allocation of approximately $15.6 million in U.S. federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for public safety initiatives and reimbursement of casualties. income during the pandemic.
In total, the city received $47 million in ARPA funding.
Under the bill, $5.5 million will fund the replacement of the HVAC system in the city’s Public Safety Building in downtown Harrisburg. According to Mayor Wanda Williams, the system is outdated and needs upgrading.
“It’s a costly but necessary expense, as well as a health risk,” she explained at a previous council working session.
Harrisburg will also award $1.2 million in one-time bonuses to uniformed personnel in the Harrisburg Fire Department and Police Department. Each staff member will receive a bonus of $5,000.
“The bonuses, I think, are essential because we considered these workers at risk during the most difficult times of COVID,” said board member Ralph Rodriguez. “If we don’t take care of them, we will continue to lose them.”
An additional $8.8 million will be used to reimburse the city for expenses and lost revenue due to the pandemic, originally approved as part of the 2022 budget.
Williams announced its proposed plan for the use of ARPA funds in mid-May, including items the board approved on Tuesday. His proposal also includes uses for the remaining funds, such as an affordable housing initiative and the replacement of the city’s Hall Manor swimming pool with a water park. These projects, among others, will have to be approved later by the council.
“I would really like to hear the full presentation with the presence of each of the directors who would be affected by the mayor’s proposal,” council chair Danielle Bowers said. “I would also like to hear from the inhabitants.
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