SAGINAW, MI — American Rescue Plan Act stimulus spending will serve as the centerpiece talking point during a special strategy session for Saginaw’s elected leaders this week.
The Saginaw City Council will gather for its annual strategic planning meeting at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13, at Saginaw City Hall, 1315 S. Washington.
Officials said the 9-member council will discuss how to divide the remaining funds from the city’s $52 million stimulus among youth and workforce development projects proposed by organizations and agencies in recent months.
In December, the council voted to set aside $10 million of the stimulus for youth development programs but did not specify which programs would benefit from $9 million of that spending.
The council voted in 2022 on several multimillion-dollar investments for the stimulus Saginaw received from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Tackling spending proposals by categories — such as health care and housing revitalization — the group continues to consider spending plans recommended last year by a council-appointed advisory group. While those recommendations included spending $10 million on youth development programs, there was no advisement related to workforce development.
Saginaw stimulus spending picked up in the latter months of 2022.
- In November, the council voted to spend $5 million to build a new behavioral health clinic in the community. The clinic was linked to a mysterious health care-related investment in downtown Saginaw that leaders estimate could cost $100 million, largely in private investments. Advocates largely have remained mum on the details, citing nondisclosure agreements signed related to the larger project.
- During one September meeting, the council approved $11.6 million in spending on four programs in part related to revitalizing Saginaw’s aging housing stock.
- Earlier that month, the council voted to spend up to $1.3 million on demolishing the remaining buildings at the former Saginaw County fairgrounds in the city, although that decision could be reversed.
- The council in May approved spending $864,750 on hazard pay for municipal employees who performed services during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The first stimulus expenditure was approved in February, when the council OK’d its contract with Guidehouse, a consultant helping Saginaw with its stimulus-spending strategy. The 3-year deal could cost up to $850,000, although city officials said the final cost likely will fall short of that amount.
In April, the council set aside $26.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act stimulus funds to offset four years of estimated budget revenue losses created by the COVID-19 pandemic in Saginaw City Hall services. That chunk of spending was expected to fund later proposals related to the city’s police protection, fire and emergency medical services, road repairs, public infrastructure support, administrative expenses, land use regulations and enforcement, and parks and recreation programs.
The $52 million stimulus set aside for Saginaw arrived via a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act signed into law in March 2021. The stimulus provided $350 billion for local and state governments. Michigan municipalities received $10.9 billion from the stimulus bill.
Residents unable to attend the Friday meeting can watch the gathering televised live on Charter Spectrum’s channel 191; or on the city’s YouTube channel. The YouTube channel also provides an archive of the council meetings.
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