Saline Spends Almost Half Of ARP Funds To Stabilize Rec Center

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Saline has officially decided what to do with their stimulus funding from the American Rescue Plan. Council approved a plan to spend $484,032 of the $977,918 Saline will be receiving in the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years to stabilize the budget of the Rec Center.

“The Rec Center was hit very hard with loss of revenue. We were closed for six months, and this will definitely help us make it through,” Director of Parks and Recreation Carla Scruggs said.

The Rec Center lost $1,238,525 in 2020 and the city’s general fund lost $989,040, according to the resolution. The funds were calculated based on population density, according to O’Toole, and will be distributed by the city in two packages.

The resolution passed Monday evening will distribute $382,125 to the Rec Center in the 2022 fiscal year and $101,907 in the 2023 financial year. According to O’Toole, the funds will be tracked through a revenue and loss accounting scheme that tracks through the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years.

“It’s actually pretty even split. … It works out to [being] slightly less than 50 percent to the Rec Center and slightly more than 50 percent to the general fund,” O’Toole said. “The portion that goes to the general fund, as Councilor Krause pointed out, will have to have a subsequent discussion [on] how that gets allocated.”

The other $493,886 is going to the general fund. The financial package that Congress wrote is designed to stabilize the finances of local governments, among other things.

That means that the city will have a very short list of priorities to spend the remaining funds on when the next general budget is considered in January. O’Toole predicted that that would likely go towards the city’s improvements to water and sewer infrastructure. Council ideas on what to spend the other half or so of the funds on range from giving small businesses microloans to stay in business to funding other infrastructure projects.

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled a name.

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