After hearing the City Department Heads speak at the recent Portage Indiana City Council Meeting, former Portage Mayor John Cannon called on the Portage City Council and Mayor Lynch to use the city’s ARPA funds in a responsible fashion for infrastructure, equipment, and employees. Most department heads spoke about their dire needs at the recent ARPA public hearing and made it readily apparent that the ARPA funds must be used to repair and replace broken, aging, and outdated items in every department.
According to ARPA Fund Use Documents, “Investment in critical infrastructure is particularly well-suited use of ARPA funds because it is a non-recurring expenditure that can be targeted to strategically important long- term assets that provide benefits over many years.”
It was also apparent from comments by most of the council and the mayor their desire to assist in financing the pool for the YMCA and the outdoor learning center for the Portage Library. Cannon states that both of which have their own funding sources. In total, approximately $600,000 is being asked for by each organization, which if awarded would greatly take away from specific needs of the city. “We have what is likely a once in a generation opportunity to truly support the needs of city government at a level that has not been seen before and bring all city services to level that our residents deserve.” Cannon added.
Additional amenities in any city are always nice to have, but the city must not miss this chance to correct significant and historical under funding of city and department budgets, felony actions by the former clerk treasurer’s involving city monies and the need to bring our infrastructure into modern times.
It States in the Final Document from the Federal Government regarding the ARPA Funds QUOTING, “Large capitol expenditures intended for general economic development or to aid the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries—such as convention centers and stadiums—are, on balance, generally NOT reasonably proportional to addressing the negative economic impacts of the pandemic, as the efficacy of a large capital expenditure intended for general economic development in remedying pandemic harms may be very limited compared to its cost.” 253 Presumptions on Capital Expenditures.
Mayor Lynch and the Portage City Council for the last two and half years claim and continue to claim the city has “no money” then turn around and propose to give $600,000 away to non-city organizations when city government NEEDS that money. Cannon says, “it is so frustrating to hear the lack of Leadership from this administration, putting non-taxpayer funded WANTS before the NEEDS of the City Government departments.”
According to ARPA Fund use Documents: “The funding provided under ARPA provides a unique opportunity for state and local governments to make strategic investments in long-lived assets, rebuild reserves to enhance financial stability, and cover temporary operating shortfalls until economic conditions and operations normalize.”
Cannon calls on our elected officials to make the right decision and support our local government, city departments and the employees. The stability and future of our great city depends on better leadership. Putting Portage City Departments, first is the best approach!