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How Should Rock Island Spend Its American Rescue Plan Dollars ?

The White House

Rock Island has a problem, but it's a problem city officials welcome - how to spend the 26.5 million dollars it'll receive from the American Rescue Plan. Tuesday night the city council will hold a special meeting to begin figuring how, and where, to spend that money.

Mayor Mike Thoms says one of the first decisions will be the process - should a committee decide who'll get a share, should there be public meetings, and whether the city should hire someone to manage the process.

"It's only once in a lifetime you get this kind of money to deal with, so you want to make sure you look and study very, very carefully how it's best spent."

The city, and other local governments will have three years to spend their American Rescue Plan money - it can be spent on water and sewer projects but not streets, it can be spent on COVID-related capital projects, but not reduce property taxes. And it can be given to non-profits and for-profit organizations.

"And if they find it's not being spent correctly, the city is liable for that money and has to pay it back to the federal government, not who-ever got the money, the agency or who-ever it is. So you have to be very, very careful to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed."

Thoms plans to meet with other mayors and local government leaders to find out what decisions they're making.

And he says every city has more needs than cash, so despite these millions of dollars being available, "something won't get funded."

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.