Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Council Holds ARPA Spending Until September

Mayor's $93 million "summer plan" delayed, along with proposals by alders.

By - Jul 27th, 2021 03:04 pm
Jericho / CC BY (

Jericho / CC BY (

Any proposals to spend the City of Milwaukee’s $394.2 million American Rescue Plan Act allocation will have to wait.

The Common Council refused to consider a $93 million proposal by Mayor Tom Barrett and others by individual council members until after its August recess.

A proposal adopted by the council at its Tuesday meeting would require all proposals for the first, two-year tranche of money, $197 million, to be submitted in advance of a future meeting. The city’s budget office and newly-formed Office of Equity and Inclusion would then review the proposals.

A combined list of the requests would be a published and a process, similar to the city budget amendment process, would be used to adopt the proposals.

“I think we all realize that we have an obligation to ensure that these dollars are spent wisely and appropriately,” said Alderman Michael Murphy. He has led the push to formalize the approval process along with Council President Cavalier Johnson.

Murphy said a special meeting of the Finance & Personnel Committee would be scheduled for the first week of September to review the proposals.

“The only reason we feel like we are being rushed is because the mayor has two proposals on the table,” said Ald. Russell W. Stamper, II, double-counting Barrett’s plan.

Barrett, using multiple press conferences earlier this month, unveiled a $93 million “Milwaukee Recovery & Resiliency Plan” that includes spending on housing, fighting reckless driving, street lighting, violence prevention, small business grants and job training. He has also referred to the proposal as his “summer plan,” framing it as a starter proposal designed to create an immediate impact.

Other proposals big and small have been offered by council members. Ald. Robert Bauman has a $150 million plan to rehab the approximately 700 city-owned homes. Ald. Jose G. Perez has a $98 million proposal to substantially expand the city’s lead abatement program. Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, who declared as a U.S. Senate candidate last week, has a $400,000 plan to establish the framework for a universal basic income program and a $200,000 proposal to fund the Office of Veterans’ Affairs.

There is one spending allocation that was previously approved in June. The council approved Barrett’s proposal to allocate $3.8 million to the “Earn and Learn” program, a summer program targeted at hiring high school students.

The council adopted the plan on a 14-0-1 vote with Ald. Milele A. Coggs abstaining.

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Related Legislation: File 210576

Categories: City Hall, Politics

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