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Willmar designates additional American Rescue Plan Act funds

The Willmar City Council designated the spending of additional American Rescue Plan Act funds at its meeting June 20, and authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds to fund the 2022 street improvement projects.

112621.N.WCT.WillmarARPFunds
The city of Willmar will be receiving a total of $2.1 million from the American Rescue Plan act.
Contributed / City of Willmar
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WILLMAR — Another portion of American Rescue Plan Act funds was earmarked for use by the city of Willmar during the Willmar City Council meeting June 20.

The total amount of funds the city will receive is approximately $2.1 million.

The council had already authorized up to $290,000 for software and technology improvements at City Hall. At its June 20 meeting, the council authorized up to $3,000 to be spent on a grant writer to write a grant for turnout gear and mobile/portable radios for the Willmar Fire Department, which is estimated to cost approximately $210,000.

It also authorized using $263,877 in funds for the new northwest water line, previously called the Epitopix water line extension, which will service the area near 45th Street Northwest.

Place-holders for additional expenditure of funds by the council for 2022 include the purchase of the equipment for the Fire Department if a grant is not received, and $45,000 to support Raymond Ambulance Service. In order to expend those funds, the council will have to approve the expenditure.

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Raymond Ambulance approached Willmar City Council at its May 2 meeting, stating that it is in need of a new ambulance and is approaching all the regional municipalities that it serves to ask for financial support in that endeavor. In 2021, Raymond Ambulance was called on 45 times for service in the city of Willmar.

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Items penciled in for additional expenditure of American Rescue Plan Act funds in 2023 include:

  • $326,000 for the Parks and Recreation Department for loss revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $300,000 to upgrade technology and internet technology infrastructure for Willmar's information systems. 
  • $150,000 to Kandiyohi and Meeker County Housing and Redevelopment Authority for community housing.
  • $250,000 for a citywide mental health professional.
  • $255,000 for multi-generational programming at the community center.
  • $100,000 toward child care.
  • $25,000 for a safe house. 

Street improvement bonds

The council authorized the issuance of $5.56 million general obligation bonds in order to fund the 2022 street improvement projects.

A resolution approved June 6 authorizes Baker Tilley to take bids on behalf of the city at 10 a.m. July 18, and those bids will be presented to the council for consideration at its meeting that night at 6:30 p.m.

The 2022 street improvement program is expected to cost approximately $10 million, and the city is bonding a little more than half the cost of the project. The remainder of the project will be funded using approximately $1.6 million in municipal state aid, $1.18 million in wastewater treatment plant funds, nearly $1 million from Willmar Municipal Utilities, and nearly $400,000 from local option sales tax.

The bonds will be for a term of 15 years. The principal and interest payments for debt service on the bonds will be approximately $400,000 to $450,000 per year. Assessment revenue from the project will pay approximately $246,500 per year toward that debt service, leaving a net levy of approximately $270,000 per year for debt service of the bonds.

Jennifer Kotila is a reporter for West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minnesota. She focuses on local government, specifically the City of Willmar, and business.

She can be reached via email at: jkotila@wctrib.com or phone at 320-214-4339.
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