Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello gave city council an overview of plans the city has to spend COVID recovery funds received from Washington.
President Biden signed the American Rescue Care Act in March of this year that provides $350 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Recovery Funds. Lebanon City has been allotted a total of $16.6 million, with 50 percent of those funds being received in May of this year and the remaining 50 percent to be received in May of 2022.
There are limits on what the city may do with the money and the funds must be obligated by December 2024 and spent by December 2026.
Much of the first payment of the Rescue Care Act money will be used for stormwater and infrastructure projects, to improve the stormwater sewer system and to make other changes, as needed, to areas that flood in the city during heavy rainstorms.
"You may think that $16 million sounds like a lot of money, but these types of projects are expensive," Capello said. "The cost to make improvements to Sixth and Cumberland streets, where flooding occurs, is expected to be close to $300,000."
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In the interest of addressing social needs of residents of the city, $1 million of the Recovery Care Act funds will be made available to non-profit organizations in the form of grants for programs that will provide services to people impacted by the pandemic.
Capello said some of the potential priorities for these funds include mental health services, healthy childhood environments, affordable housing, and workforce development. The committee who will review the applications will look for organizations who want to provide services to meet the needs of vulnerable populations in the city who were impacted by the pandemic, such as low-income persons, seniors, people with disabilities, and the unemployed and for expected long-term results.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve our community," she said. "We are hopeful our very good and valuable non-profit organizations will apply for this and we can make some good things happen."
Non-profit organizations can find information and apply for the grants online at the city's website, lebanonpa.org. The city's community development director, Janelle Mendoff, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or about problems using the website application.
The deadline for submitting an application is January 31, 2022.
City officials recognized Wayne Carey and Daniel Bost for the service they have provided to the city by serving on council. Both men chose not to run for re-election.
Council chairman Joe Morales commended Carey for being a cheerleader for Lebanon City and making people aware of the good things that were happening in the city. Carey served on council since 2014. He is familiar to many people as the friendly man who works at the Candy-Rama stand in the Lebanon Farmers Market.
Bost was selected by council to serve the remaining term of councilwoman Amy Keller who moved out of the city in 2020. He serves as the district director for state Senator Christopher Gebhard.
Carey advised people to go to the city's website when there is a forecast of snow and click on the snowflake symbol for helpful information.
"I'll probably get in trouble for mentioning the word 'snow' but it is beneficial for residents who park on snow emergency routes to know when they must move their vehicles," he said.
This article originally appeared on Lebanon Daily News: Lebanon COVID funds might fund stormwater, infrastructure projects