Columbia Metropolis Council considers concepts for American Rescue Plan cash


Columbia City Council pondered how to spend $ 25 million received from the federal government.

The discussion came as the council prepares to vote on its budget for fiscal year 22. Funds from the American Rescue Plan make up a small percentage of the money the council must garner, but many have urged the council to invest in areas it frequently does not invest in while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council discussed how to use the money to fight homelessness in the city. Citizens’ surveys have shown that housing construction is a priority for consideration. The draft plan prepared by city officials for ARPA funding shows that $ 3 million will be spent on this issue. The Voluntary Action Center has asked for ARPA funds to help with its Opportunity Campus for people affected by homelessness, including shelter. The group said it would take $ 5 million to get it established.

The council members discussed how best to use this money. Mayor Brian Treece said $ 3 million could be too expensive. He said the city needs to ensure that whatever it has spent money on produces results in solving the problem.

“I think there are some unique needs that I think the city should be a partner on,” said Treece. “And I think the county has to be a partner and I think the private sector has to be a partner.”

First ward councilwoman Pat Fowler said the city needs to spend enough money to make the program in which it has invested successful. So did other urban ARPA investment ideas, including mental health services and community violence prevention.

“Now if we put extra strain on a nameless person to make all of these connections and bring all of these things together, the chances are they’ll fall apart,” said Fowler.

City Manager John Glascock revealed his plan for spending at a news conference on July 29th. The $ 474 million budget includes a 3 percent raise for all employees and the creation of 38 new jobs in the city. The government is still cutting back on staff cuts that were cut in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Glascock said the city is in “good financial condition” and expects to raise $ 443 million for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

The Council held its first public hearing on the budget on August 16. He will hold two more hearings, scheduled for September 7th and September 20th, before possibly voting on September 20th.

The health department also asked for more money to keep some temporary positions. Deputy Director Scott Clardy said the department must hire investigators on the case to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic because of the recent surge caused by the Delta variant. Clardy said the $ 1.2 million needed would also be paid for through grants and the county.

Mayfield Heights considers utilizing American Rescue Plan cash to offer bonuses to metropolis workers who labored throughout pandemic: Stimulus Watch

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – A proposal to use federal stimulidollars to provide 4,000 bonuses to Mayfield Heights police officers and firefighters has turned into a potential bonus to all municipal and administrative employees deemed “material” and during the Pandemic worked.

City officials don’t have the money to spend. In fact, they haven’t even been told exactly how much money the city will receive from the American bailout plan over two years. But Estimates from and The Plain Dealer state Mayfield Heights could receive about $ 1.9 million in total.

Finance director Karen Fegan said the city is still considering how to spend its money. However, she confirmed that the proposal to provide bonuses to “all key workers” is being examined. She did not specify which positions are considered important or how many employees it involves, so it is unclear how much bonuses could be paid.

The city initially considered giving $ 4,000 in bonuses paid with American Rescue Plan money only to first responders, in addition to incremental pay increases – paid out of the city’s budget – as in collective agreements with unions, the police, and fire departments and other workers represented, negotiated.

Council members voted on the ordinances to sign the collective agreements during a meeting on May 24, partly due to disagreement over the bonuses and which city servants should receive them. Legislation empowering the mayor to approve the union contracts is back on the council’s agenda on Monday, but it’s unclear whether the agreements include bonuses.

“We talked about a lump sum instead of a percentage every year,” Councilor Gayle Teresi said at the May meeting. “We didn’t know there would be a lump sum and a percentage.”

Teresi said she is in favor of a raise for first responders given their necessary and 24/7 work during the pandemic. However, she was concerned about giving a bonus on top of the raise – especially since she heard city workers say that all employees who worked during the pandemic would receive a bonus, which would be paid in stimulus money.

“Someone who worked at City Hall called and told me everyone was getting a $ 4,000 bonus,” Teresi said. After the meeting, Teresi told a reporter that non-union city workers typically receive a similar raise to union workers, so she wondered who else could get a $ 4,000 bonus.

“Did the mayor (Anthony DiCicco) get it? Will (Finance Director) Ms. Fegan get it? How about some advice? We were there (work and hold meetings) during COVID, “Teresi said a freelancer for Sun Messenger, a sister publication of and The Plain Dealer.

The US Treasury Department has issued guidelines on how local governments can use their American Rescue Plan dollars. One of the proposals is to “provide premium wages for key workers to provide additional support to those who, as a result of their services in critical infrastructure sectors, face and will bear the greatest health risks”.

“I’m in favor of everyone getting a raise, especially the police and fire departments,” Councilor Robert DeJohn said during the May 24 session. “Here’s my problem: as soon as these two units get their raise, they get everyone else in town – everyone else, including the administrative staff. You will all get this lump sum up to the time you raise your salary. “

Councilor Donald Manno joined DeJohn and Teresi in May against the collective agreements. He said council members should receive a raise or bonus for signing raises for other employees.

“Mr. DeJohn said everyone in town gets the raise,” Manno said. “The council doesn’t get it, but we have to sign it for everyone else. We worked through COVID too – not the same way. But fact If you say that everyone in town hall gets a raise or a bonus, what about the advice? Are we stepchildren? Or what’s going on here? “

Finance director Fegan said compensation to the mayor and council will be determined by a regulation that includes a “nested” calculation based on factors such as increases in the general fund and the consumer price index for the previous year. But her statement didn’t seem to deter councilors hoping for a bonus or raise from the money from the American bailout.

Councilor Michael Ballistrea said he did not know why some of his colleagues were confused. He said notes he took during an earlier meeting suggested Fegan said some of the American bailout money would “most likely” be used for bonuses.

“So that was checked and it was always on the table that this should be done as far as I was concerned,” Ballistrea said.

Stimulus Watch is a public service journalism project run by and The Plain Dealer to track federal grants reaching Northeast Ohio through the US rescue plan. Read more

DC needs to provide out extra hire cash; considers added incentives to get teenagers vaccinated

DC doesn’t seem to be getting money out the door fast enough to help anyone asked for help with the rent.

DC doesn’t seem to be getting money out the door fast enough to help everyone who asked for help with the rent.

Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said during a DC Council conference call Friday that the city had made a number of improvements StayDC, the district’s rental and utility program, in an effort to handle a significant backlog of applications.

Falcicchio said the program gives landlords “the ability to process multiple applications and really helps housing providers who have multiple units”. Earlier this week the city made a change to allow residents “to enter the portal and really see more clearly where their application is in the process and to understand where it is in terms of status is located “.

According to Falcicchio, 3,430 applications have been completed and paid out so far.

Elissa Silverman, a member of the Grand Council, asked if he found this number “worrying”.

“Because we have an estimate of at least tens of thousands of households in arrears and who would qualify,” Silverman said. “And we’re here in June – we have to get this money out the door by September, [and] we only approved 3,430. “

Falcicchio said around 22,000 applications were being processed and interest was still high.

Silverman said the council is hearing from landlords and tenants who cannot go through the process.

You can find information on how to apply on-line or by telephone on the hotline 833-4-STAYDC (833-478-2932) Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Incentives to have young people vaccinated

DC is trying to get more teenagers vaccinated against COVID-19 Inequalities in tariffs in the districts, and that could mean more free money – or even tuition.

Three Vaccination sites in DC are offering 51 gift cards as part of the city’s promotion: RISE Demonstration Center (One Medical), Ron Brown High School (DC Health), and Anacostia High School (Safeway).

“How do we measure whether $ 51 is an effective incentive?” Asked Silverman during the call on Friday. She added that Ohio was running a lottery giving students free tuition at Ohio State.

“One incentive would be to pay for college. Is that being considered? I know we have a state university, but the most important thing we hear from our young people is their concern that they will not be able to pay for college. So it seems like taking part in the lottery would be a good incentive for that. We encourage our children to get vaccinated, ”she said.

DC is considering additional incentives for the younger population, Falcicchio said, “We are considering options for incentives that are specifically targeted at our young people as we near school start.”

He added, “This is something that is an active conversation. We’ll certainly look at Ohio and other states that have had some type of tuition or scholarship-based incentive and see what they have learned so far. “

DC Health’s Patrick Ashley said the numbers “doubled or nearly doubled” in locations with incentives to get vaccinated. And he said the outlook is positive.

“I was in Anacostia before they opened on Saturday and there were 20 people waiting at the doors and then they talked to them, they were there because it was $ 51,” Ashley said.

“And that’s a good sign. Individuals … it just takes a little sometimes to push people over the edge. And we hope to achieve that. “

Ashley said more data on DC’s overall vaccination rates will be available next week.

Friday’s call and conversation about incentives comes after data from the city’s Deputy Mayor’s Office for Education revealed that at least 60% of children aged 12-15 in Wards 2 and 3 received at least one dose of a COVID- 19 vaccine. In stations 7 and 8, however less than 10% of children in the same age group have received at least one dose.

The inequality has some officials concerned about school returns this fall and the possibility of outbreaks as the more easily transmissible Delta variant spreads.

WTOP’s Scott Gelman contributed to this report.

CW considers establishing downtown leisure district

By Linda Dillman
Employed author

Canal Winchester plans to expand its downtown entertainment and dining offering by creating a community entertainment district in an area around the intersection of Waterloo and High Street.

On June 21, Canal Winchester City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance setting boundaries within the historic district around the city center, giving the city yet another tool for economic development and business revitalization by increasing the number of available ones Gave liquor permits to hand.

The ordinance limits the district to no less than 20 acres and complies with the guidelines of the Ohio Revised Code. Similar neighborhoods were created by the city on Gender and Diley streets.

The document states: “… it is in the best interests of the city to establish a community entertainment district … to enhance and offer entertainment, retail, education, sports, culture and the arts.”

Lucas Haire, director of urban development, said the city is seeing a great deal of demand in Old Town for drink permits for restaurants interested in moving to the area. All permits are currently in possession and none are available for start-ups.

“If we open a new restaurant in the old town, there is (currently) no chance of a liquor permit,” said Haire. “Where liquor licenses can be issued, once they are issued, they stay in that area.”

According to a map attached to the legislation, the 30-acre district is roughly bordered by Columbus Street to the south, Oak Street to the north, Trine Street to the east, and along West Waterloo on the north side of the street near the level crossing .

Haire said with a ratio of one permit per five acres, the new entertainment district – which the council could change at any time – would allow six additional liquor licenses.

“The entertainment district will open up opportunities,” said Councilor Jill Amos, who agreed it was time for the city to create a DORA, which is a designated outdoor refreshment area – a specific area of ​​land that a local legislature will serve as excluded from certain open container regulations. “A lot of people are interested in (at a DORA) and that helps us.”

Councilor Mike Coolman said as the city grows, citizens are wondering why Canal Winchester cannot push certain restaurants to its limits.

“This (CED) is a huge stepping stone,” said Coolman. “It is a step that is necessary.”

Haire said if the entertainment district ordinance is approved, additional alcohol permits could be granted as early as September.

More CW news
• The council approved the setting of the salary and benefit package for the mayor’s and council’s salaries with effect from January 1, 2022. There are no changes in salary and benefit levels and they remain the same as last year.

The council president receives $ 7,251 annually, the vice president receives $ 6,921 annually, and council members annually $ 6,592.

Members are entitled to sign up for or decline a single health / hospital insurance and purchase dental and vision insurance.

The mayor’s salary is $ 100,842. The mayor is also entitled to health / hospital insurance – alone or with the family – as well as dental, visual and insurance benefits on the same terms and requirements as city workers, in addition to a monthly travel allowance of $ 500 for the use of a private vehicle for the City company.

• The council heard the second reading to put proposed constitutional amendments to the November vote and the July 6th session will be the last regular meeting before the council pauses for this month.

Belarus bonds tumble as EU considers ‘Venezuela-style’ sanctions

Belarusian government bond prices fell on Monday as the EU prepared to tighten sanctions against the president Alexander Lukashenko‘s regime for his Intercept on a Ryanair flight to arrest a dissident.

The country’s dollar debt fell about 5 percent as investors responded to reports that the new restrictions could include a ban on “Venezuela” -type trading in Belarusian securities that could prevent bondholders from leaving their positions .

“Sanctions that mean you cannot trade the bonds in the secondary market would be beyond anything we have seen against Russia so far,” said Viktor Szabo, portfolio manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “That would basically make them inviolable.”

The US has banned trade in Venezuelan bonds since 2017, practically blocking the market for many foreign investors.

A Belarusian bond with a maturity of 2031, sold in June last year ahead of a competitive election that Lukashenko brutally cracked down on widespread protests, fell nearly 5 cents to 87.7 cents a dollar. Investors said there was hardly any actual trading, with brokers citing indicative prices with even steeper declines of 5-6 percent.

USD 3.6 billion in Belarusian dollar bonds, which traded above face value in February, fell after Belarusian authorities forced the plane to land last month, sparking international outrage. Last week, the EU countries tentatively agreed on far-reaching sanctions against the Belarusian financial, oil and potash sectors in order to significantly increase the pressure on the authoritarian Lukashenko government.

The package is expected to be finalized by finance ministers on Monday before being approved at an EU summit on Thursday.

“The assumption is that they will sanction primary issues following the Russian example,” said Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management, referring to a move by the US in April to ban American investors from buying new Russian government bonds. “The possible ban on trading in securities is unusual. Then it’s Venezuelan. People won’t want to be tied to holding these bonds. ”

Ash added that actions against Belarusian industries such as the large potash sector could “cripple the economy” and undermine the government’s creditworthiness.

San Diego Considers Eliminating Parking House Necessities to Save Companies Cash, Scale back Air pollution – NBC 7 San Diego

If you think finding parking space outside of your favorite store is difficult, it could get even harder. That’s because the city of San Diego is considering letting some companies use their existing parking lots for something else.

Freshly Faded Barber Shop was full of customers on Wednesday; likewise their parking lot in North Park.

“We call it ‘No Park’, not North Park,” said Freshly Faded owner Derrick Banks. “Because there is hardly any space left to park.”

To make matters worse, the city is considering abolishing a certain number of parking spaces for companies. The city’s proposal will ease the burden of new developments, which currently cost up to $ 25,000 per booth and must have at least one space per 1,000 square feet.

The city is also pushing for more pedestrian, bicycle and traffic use.

With approval, companies can provide as much parking space as their customers need, or use the space to expand their showrooms or for al fresco dining.

Café Madeline hasn’t eaten indoors in over a year and benefited from additional outdoor seating.

“If this parklet didn’t take up two spaces, we essentially couldn’t have stayed open, so it makes a difference for small businesses,” said Café Madeline owner Christine Perez.

Perez also calls the parking space proposal complicated.

“We have some people in the community who actually park their cars there overnight because they don’t have parking in the neighborhood, so it’s kind of a double-edged sword,” said Perez.

For the time being, the proposal only applies to companies in priority transit areas that are within 800 meters of an important stop.

This does not apply to public paths that fall under the city’s open-air restaurant ordinance – now extended to July 2022.

The proposal to eliminate parking spaces will be presented to the planning commission on Thursday and is expected to be presented to the city council in July.

The city council approved a similar change two years ago, repealing parking regulations for multi-family housing developments built within half a mile of a tram or bus stop.

Kim Kardashian West considers shopping for survival bunker | Leisure

Kim Kardashian West wants to buy survival bunkers for her whole family.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians star began researching survival gear that can withstand all man-made and natural disasters after her friend Jonathan Cheban was robbed at gunpoint.

And Kim, who experienced her own terrible ordeal after her robbery in Paris in 2016, brought her sister with her when they tested one of Atlas Survival Systems’ cylindrical bunkers.

In the bunker the temperature rose to 104 degrees as Kim studied and eventually fell asleep.

Meanwhile, Kim announced that as a lawyer she was being pushed to become a lawyer.

She said, “I really think when I was robbed something was best taken from me. All the things that were really important to me back then – how many bags I had, what car I drove … I still like them all that stuff, but it doesn’t matter, it might go away.

“For such a long time people have tried to bring me up with concerns. But that was the first thing I thought you know what? I want to go to law school, I want to help people. Let me work the next 10 years and build mine Brand and just give up on being Kim K and becoming a lawyer one day in 10 years. And now I’ve realized what’s important to me. No publicist would have ever told me to get involved in prison reform. “

And the reality TV star insists that she only cares about supporting causes that are close to her heart, not fame.

She added, “If you asked me, ‘Fame or fortune?’ I wouldn’t choose fame … I’ve never looked back [being on camera so much]. I am so grateful to have all these memories on camera. I’ll look back and think, oh my god, what did I wear? Why is my makeup like this? But I can sit back and laugh and find it fun to see how much I cared and wanted so much to be famous. I can laugh about it now – oh my god, I was desperate! “

In an effort to save cash, the Alaska Marine Freeway considers sinking its oldest ferry | KHNS Radio

At the House Finance Committee meeting Monday in the state capital in Juneau, an official from the Department of Transportation suggested some cost-saving measures, including freeing the fleet from one of its unused ships, the MV Malaspina.

It is one of the oldest ships in the fleet, built in the 1960s. It has been anchored in Ward Cove in Ketchikan since 2019. The ship will cost about $ 450,000 to store.

The state is currently considering a number of options to remove this red line from its budget. They tried to sell the ferry but there is an overabundance of decommissioned cruise lines so there is very little interest in the free market. That lets the boat sell for scrap metal or just sink it.

Rob Carpenter from the Department of Transportation presented this idea to lawmakers on Monday.

“Other options we’re considering is to sink them. We’re talking to the EPA about that option, cleaning them up, removing all of the asbestos, etc., and then creating a reef somewhere,” Carpenter said.

This plan would cost anywhere between $ 500,000 and $ 1 million. But compare that to the estimated $ 16 million it would cost to repair the 50-year-old ship.

Recent mechanical problems incapacitated the Matanuska earlier this month, forcing Skagway and Haines to charter a private ship to transport passengers from Juneau while leaving their vehicles behind. With fewer boats in the water these days, every breakdown is taxed on an already stressed ferry system.

Earlier this month, the state sold two of its high-speed ferries, the Fairweather and the Chenega, for $ 5.1 million. These boats were originally purchased for $ 68 million. The Alaska Marine Highway leaves a fleet of 10 ships that serve the entire coast of Alaska.

The plan proposed by Governor Mike Dunleavy will save an additional $ 7 million from the Marine Highway System’s 2022 budget. The House Finance Committee disagrees and has proposed keeping funding similar to the 2021 budget.