Valdosta City Council approves local funding reallocation

Sep. 8—VALDOSTA — The Valdosta City Council has moved more than $2 million from coronavirus response funds to pay for debris removal following Hurricane Idalia.

The reallocation was approved during a called meeting Thursday evening.

City Manager Richard Hardy introduced the request to revise the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to the council.

"The City of Valdosta received a total allocation of $16,254,692 from this program. The City has expended a total of $9,453,797.63 leaving $6,800,894.37," Hardy said.

The reallocation of the ARPA fund would allow the City of Valdosta to continue to fund the debris removal in response to the recent Hurricane Idalia.

"We need to reallocate this funding so we can take care of the needs of our city. This reallocation will be more of a delay based on the project reimbursement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)," he explained. "This reallocation will be placed back to its original destination once reimbursed."

Councilman Thomas B. McIntyre Sr. of District 3, questioned the stipulations on the money's initial usage. He believed the ARPA money had to be used specifically for what it was initially granted for. Councilwoman Sandra Tooley of District Two also raised the same concerns.

Hardy responded, "No, sir. As we looked at these items and we went through them, they have the option of utilizing them as necessary in a natural disaster. We can utilize those funds."

The approved reallocations totaled $2,007,900 and were as follows:

—The delay of implementing an AARPA Project Manager in the amount of $250,000.

—The delayed purchase of properties on South Patterson and surrounding parcels in the amount of $1,282,900, which is the remaining partial local match funding.

—The delay of the Savannah Avenue Train project in the amount of $475,000, which consists of the City of Valdosta's local match fund.

The request was approved with a vote of 6 to 1. Councilwoman Tooley opposed after raising concerns with the certainty of the FEMA reimbursement.

The council also considered a resolution authorizing the city to apply for the Georgia Department of Transportation 5307 Grant Funding for Fiscal Year 2005. The grant will provide matching funds up to $1,578,860 and would continue the city's OnDemand Public Transit System, according to shared documents at the meeting.

The resolution passed with a vote 4-0 due to council members not being present at the vote.

Mayor Scott Matheson presented Chief of Police Leslie Manahan with an OAK box that has several overdose aid kits to be placed at her discretion. Matheson originally accepted the box from The Clinton Foundation Tuesday evening when the Mobilize Recovery Across Georgia bus tour stopped in Valdosta.