Pittsfield Commits To Stimulus Priorities

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How is Pittsfield Township going to spend its federal stimulus money from the American Rescue Plan? The Board of Trustees approved a plan to do just that at their October 13 meeting.

“The majority of the money is being used for the US12 sewer project,” Grewal said.

Pittsfield Township will receive $2,037,003 in 2021 and $2,037,003 in 2022. This year’s projects will pale in comparison to 2022s investments.

Starting in 2021, the plan passed by the Trustees allocates $294,500 for a mid-block pedestrian crossing between Hawks Road and Torrey Road on Packard. Another $210,000 will go to streetlight projects around the township, as well as $12,500 for parks. The township will end with $1,250,003 for the major projects in 2022.

“The $500,000 on mast arms and streetlighting is a function o the failure of the public safety millage in May, which is requiring us to relocate and use general fund money,” Grewal added. “In addition, the $1 million for the building upgrades is Covid-related. Some of [them], like the Public Safety Building, are retrofitted residential buildings, that have been in use for multiple decades and don’t have the air quality that is needed to support a safe and healthy workforce.”

Chart Credit - Pittsfield Charter Township

The biggest project in Pittsfield at the moment will get the biggest share of funding starting in 2022. Pittsfield Township Trustees were convinced this year to rebuild and completely rearrange the mainline sewer line south of its current arrangement underneath Michigan Avenue. The reason they did this was partially to mitigate operational problems and partially to avoid a potential disaster given how deeply the current mainline sewer has to go underneath both Michigan Avenue and US23.

That section under Michigan Avenue and the freeway will be cut off, abandoned, and replaced by a new sewer under Textile Road. The current pump stations will be replaced with an alternative gravity feed system and other modernization efforts under a $2,500,000 budget from ARP funds.

Another $1,000,000 will go to modernize township-owned buildings. That plan had included funding to renovate township offices. Another $57,006 will go towards parks in 2022.

Trustee Linda Edwards-Browns asked if the funds could be used to fund anti-bias training and Supervisor Grewal said that it could not. The $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan put aside $130 billion for local governments like Pittsfield Township. There are limits to what local governments can use their funds for. They can spend it on Covid-19 costs, revenue payments, paying essential workers, or as Pittsfield Township is doing, infrastructure.

“First, what I want to see is antiracist training, not anti-bias training. Anti-bias and antiracist are not the same thing. Anti-bias training is designed to increase understanding of differences and their value and how to actively challenge bias, stereotypes, and all forms of discrimination,” Trustee Linda Edwards-Brown said. “Antiracist training provides education about systemic racism and empowers staff to identify the sources and tactics of resistance to dismantle racism and to discuss the stages and characteristics of anti-racist organizational development.”

Edwards-Brown said she had confidence in the administration to run their departments. She also added that she was satisfied with Grewal’s promise to include funding to fight discrimination in the 2022 budget.

Pittsfield Township was planning on using funds from the failed May public safety millage request to fund the remodeling of public buildings. But since voters rejected that proposal, Grewal says that that required that ARP funds be used instead.

This injection of funding comes at a time where Pittsfield Township is already receiving over $100 million in infrastructure development over a two-year period. Most of that investment comes from the Michigan Department of Transportation, which will be investing $20 million in redesigning portions of Michigan Avenue and US23. The other $80 million for this separate investment will come from the federal government.

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