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Park Rapids to receive $460K in coronavirus recovery funds

The city council opted on April 12 for the standard revenue loss allowance, which will be used to replace the city's finance system and provide a local match for pre-development of a new housing subdivision.

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Park Rapids City Hall
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo

The Park Rapids City Council on April 12 chose the standard revenue loss allowance available from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, established under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP).

City Administrator Angel Weasner explained that the federal program offers a standard revenue loss allowance of up to $10 million for “non-entitlement units” of local government, such as cities with a population under 50,000.

The amount ARP allocated to Park Rapids, she said, is $462,810.

Weasner said opting for the standard allowance results in a streamlined reporting process for how the funds are used, noting that the city is using them to replace its finance system and to contribute $120,000 toward the pre-design phase of a housing development proposed by the Heartland Lakes Development Commission (HLDC).

“We can just do one report, saying we’re using it as a revenue loss,” said Weasner, adding this was to the city’s advantage “because we don’t have all the regulations that come with it; it’s just the standard loss that we’re allowed to utilize, and we can utilize the funds however we determine.”

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Council member Bob Wills made a motion to proceed with the allowance, and it passed unanimously, absent Mayor Ryan Leckner.

Later, in a late agenda add-on, the council also approved a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development confirming the city’s $120,000 commitment to the housing development.

Weasner explained that this amount, approved by the council in August 2021, is to serve as the HLDC’s local match for a USDA Rural Community Development Initiative grant.

Pulled from consent agenda

Council member Erika Randall requested two items removed from the consent agenda for further discussion.

Regarding the first item, was approving a job description for a full-time building official and planner. Randall noted the staff request didn’t state the funding source for the position.

“I think it’s important to note,” she added, “that this position, while it’s a newly titled position, is not a new position. We carried over funds from our previous planner and kept that in our budget for this year.”

Weasner clarified that the salary for the position has been set at the previous city planner’s pay scale.

“It would just be relabeled as a building official with planning responsibility included,” Weasner said, “and the funding source is the planning and zoning general fund, salaries.”

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Randall made a motion to approve the job description, which passed unanimously. Later, under consent, the council also authorized staff to advertise for the position.

The second item was paying Josh’s Collision Center $16,845 to repair a 2020 Ford Police Interceptor. Randall said she would like to see the invoice in the agenda packet, documenting the work that was done, as well as information about how much of the cost was covered by insurance.

Without that information, she said, the packet makes it appear the city paid out the full cost of the repair, rather than just the $500 deductible.

Weasner said the current net estimate for the repair was $23,116, and the insurance company had already paid $16,687. Once the bill is finalized, she said, the city will resubmit the claim for the additional costs.

Randall made a motion to approve the payment request, and it passed unanimously.

MORE RELATED COVERAGE:
Department heads gave a report on the past year or two at a city council workshop on Jan. 24.

Related Topics: PARK RAPIDS CITY COUNCIL
Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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