SOUTH RUSSELL — The village is anticipating $360,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds by May 11, officials said during a Monday meeting. In preparation, Village Council established a fund for the coronavirus pandemic relief dollars from the federal government.
The village will receive an additional $360,000 after May 11, 2022 with the money needing to be spent by Dec. 31, 2024.
“The federal government is providing COVID-related funds to help the nation recover from the pandemic,” said Mayor William Koons. “We may use the money in a variety of ways such as water or sewer issues, broadband infrastructure, assistance to small businesses, nonprofits, etc.”
Mayor Koons stated that the federal government provided almost $212,000 of COVID-19 relief funds last fall and decisions had to be made quickly with a tight deadline.
“We want to be able to take our time and plan out our expenditures because last fall we were able to purchase two new trucks, replace the flooring in the police station and village hall, along with improvements to our ability to hold meetings electronically,” said Mayor Koons. “With stormwater issues in many areas of the village, I hope that a master plan will be put in place to address the over 20 lakes and ponds in the village that are privately-owned, and these lakes and ponds may be able to help control flooding and erosion throughout the village.”
In other business, Village Council amended the annual appropriations to increase the street fund expenses by $6,000, playground maintenance expenses by $1,000 and safety salaries by $65,000.
“The park maintenance fund is the result of a donation from a resident to provide $1,000 a year for park maintenance,” Mayor Koons said.
The increase to the street budget addresses the issue of stormwater flowing from South Russell Village Park into three lakes in Country Estates. A survey crew will be hired to detail plans to control stormwater and erosion.
“In the summer of 2020, the village installed wetlands to trap and hold the water from the park,” Mayor Koons said. “When the water eventually leaves the park wetlands, it flows north under Bell Road through a 36” culvert into Country Estates.”
Mayor Koons said that three lakes that are almost 50 years old, and some filling with silt, receive the water from the park.
“The exit of the three lakes is a 12-inch pipe with water entering from a 36-inch culvert and attempting to leave through a 12-inch pipe,” the mayor explained. “As a result, water backs up during severe storms and sometimes flows east into Alderwood instead of north into the Country Estates lake and then into Modroo Farm.”
The $65,000 safety fund change will allow for a police patrolman to become a detective and the patrolman’s position to be filled by hiring an additional person.
“We have not added any additional safety employees since 1996,” said Mayor Koons. “Crime and issues are about the same level as year; however, policing is becoming more complex, requiring more time and effort to keep residents safe.”
The meeting was held via Zoom. The next regular council meeting is scheduled for May 10 at 7:30 p.m.