Bismarck Mayor on why COVID reduction cash could not offset tax improve

Given that property taxes in Bismarck will rise next year, Mayor Steve Bakken explains why the federal COVID-19 aid money was unable to offset these increases.

Bakken says Bismarck received about $ 10 million in the spring of last year, right at the start of the pandemic.

He says the money was used to fund one-off costs, such as the mass drive-through tests that were held at the city’s events center.

The American rescue plan is expected to give North Dakota even more federal COVID aid dollars, which could mean more money for Bismarck.

But Bakken says the money has not currently been approved by the state so it cannot be allocated yet.

“I have a firm policy – we don’t program a cent until we have this money. It’s just a bad way of doing business. They do not assign these funds or do not program them until you have them in hand. Relying on something that could possibly come is a bad way to do business, ”said Bakken.

State lawmakers are expected to approve and allocate the more than $ 1 billion from the US bailout plan during a special session in November.

Council chairman asks DC mayor to hurry emergency cash to move off evictions

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a nationwide moratorium on evictions, but the ban has ended and DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is concerned about the possibility of several hundred evictions in the district in the coming weeks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a nationwide moratorium on evictions, but the ban has ended and DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is concerned about the possibility of several hundred evictions in the district in the coming weeks.

“We have money available to help tenants with rent; and if the tenant is eligible, they shouldn’t be evicted, ”Mendelson said.

He said the city has approximately $ 200 million in federal emergency funds designed to keep people in their homes, but warned that the bureaucratic hassle in the city’s STAY DC program is preventing the city from that the money will achieve its intended purpose.

“About 70 evictions are planned for next week, most, if not all, of which will be stopped when the rent is paid. And I’ve been told that for most, if not all, of them, STAY DC’s money is an option, but the city isn’t moving fast enough to get those dollars out, ”Mendelson said.

STAY DC provides grants to tenants and housing providers to cover past and future rental payments as well as ancillary costs. Last month, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said the district reached a national milestone for rent relief before a use-it-or-lose-it period on September 30th.

In a letter Wednesday to Bowser, Mendelson said the city’s Department of Human Services, which administers the STAY DC program, has rejected efforts to meet to address the crisis.

“You are not ready to meet with me; they are not ready to tackle this problem; and they are not ready to block these evictions next week as far as I can tell, ”Mendelson said.

Mendelson asked Bowser to explain to the council by the end of the week how she would provide the money to avert the evictions.

The mayor’s office was asked to comment on Mendelson’s letter, but there was no immediate response.

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Elmira will cut back employer contribution charges for pensions, saving taxpayers cash, based on Mayor Mandell

(WETM) – New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced reductions in employer contribution rates to the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) for its two systems – the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) and the Police and Fire Retirement System ( PFRS). The adjusted rates will have an impact on payments in the next public financial year 2022-23. In addition, DiNapoli reduced the assumed long-term return on fund investments from 6.8% to 5.9%.

“The strength of the fund gives us the ability to weather volatile markets. Our prudent strategy for long-term, stable returns helps ensure that our state’s pension fund remains one of the strongest and best-funded in the country, ”said DiNapoli. “While the reduction in employer contribution rates is welcome news for taxpayers, our investment decisions are always based on what is best for our 1.1 million working and retired members and their beneficiaries.”

Elmira City Mayor Dan Mandell said this was great news for the city, which will be paying five percent less to its employees’ pension fund. He also said there will be more than one percent savings on the police and fire department pension fund. Mandell believes this will save taxpayers money in the long run as these funds will be reallocated in the 2022 budget.

“It’s a pleasant surprise. We are happy about that, especially for the upcoming budget in 2022. We hope for a tax increase of zero percent. [Funds will redistribute to] all other needs like police and fire brigade or wherever we have a great need, ”continued Mandell.

The estimated average employer contribution rate for ERS will be reduced from 16.2% to 11.6% of wages. The estimated average employer contribution rate for PFRS will be reduced from 28.3% to 27% of wages. The fund’s actuary estimates that the expected employer contributions for February 1, 2023 total $ 4.4 billion, which is $ 1.5 billion less than the expected employer contributions for the same period for 2022 – the lowest since 2011 .

This is the fourth time DiNapoli has cut the assumed rate of return on the state pension fund as economic and demographic conditions have changed. In 2010 he lowered the rate from 8% to 7.5%, in 2015 to 7% and in 2019 to 6.8%.

According to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, the average assumed return on state pension funds as of August 2021 is 7.0%. Of the 133 government pension plans listed, 34 had assumed a return of less than 7%. There are plans with a fiscal year ending on June 30, 2021, and many have already announced that they will cut their assumed yields further.

DiNapoli also announced that the coverage ratio of the state pension fund is 99.3%.

The annualized returns on the state pension fund are 11.17% over the last five years, 9.19% over 10 years, 7.65% over 20 years and 8.96% over 30 years.

Employer rates for NYSLRS are determined based on investment performance and actuarial assumptions recommended by the Pension Scheme Actuary and approved by DiNapoli. You will find a copy of the actuary’s report here.

In 2012, DiNapoli began giving employers access to a two-year forecast of their annual pension bill. Employers can use this forecast when building their budgets. The estimates of the required contributions vary by employer and depend on factors such as the pension plans they have adopted, salaries and the distribution of their employees among the six pension levels.

There are more than 3,000 employers participating in ERS and PFRS and more than 300 different combinations of retirement plans.

Payments under the new tariffs are due by February 1, 2023, but employers receive a discount if they pay by December 15, 2022.

Milwaukee mayor proposes find out how to spend American Rescue Plan cash

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced on Sunday a plan to use approximately $ 30 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act on housing initiatives.

The proposal requires the approval of the Joint Council and is expected to be adopted before the August break. Barrett said he expected to submit the plan to the council this week.

The money is part of $ 394.2 million in federal funds raised by the city from the American rescue plan law.

Barrett said he wanted to prioritize housing investments in his first plan for the funds.

“I consider housing construction to be one of the most pressing problems the City of Milwaukee is currently facing,” he said at a press conference.

Barrett also considered early childhood education, exemption from residence, internet access, and more to his priorities for the funds of the American rescue plan. Proposals to spend the rest of the money will be made soon, he said.

“This is the first part of my multi-year approach, and there are clearly other needs that we have,” said Barrett. “And part of that is balance.”

More:With millions of federal dollars flowing into Milwaukee, the city faces a historic opportunity to make advances in lead procurement

More:When the moratorium ends, there will almost certainly be an increase in evictions. But the truth is, they happened all along.

Housing investments are critical as foreclosures are a “fourfold hit” for Milwaukee, he said.

Along with families losing a place to live, vacant houses have a knock-on effect on the surrounding community: the city does not levy property taxes on the houses, property values ​​nearby fall, and more city resources must be used to monitor the houses.

In addition to several measures, the proposal provides for US $ 3 million to flow to the city Compliance Loan Program, which enables qualified homeowners to obtain interest-free deferred loans for repairs required to fix code violations.

Westley Jackson Jr., who has owned a house in Milwaukee’s Uptown neighborhood since 1994, received a program loan last year to fix his leaky roof. Barrett held the press conference outside Jackson’s house on Sunday.

Jackson, who is retired and receiving Social Security checks, couldn’t afford to fix the roof himself. He was grateful for the program that enables homeowners to repay their loans on the sale or transfer of the property.

“It’s been a blessing to me,” said Jackson.

Most of the $ 30 million would go to the Westlawn Choice Neighborhood Initiative, a Federally funded project from 2015 the additional funding needed to be completed.

Barrett proposes allocating $ 15 million to the project, the majority of which will be used to fund 326 affordable mixed-income housing units.

The Westlawn project aims to replace a “distressed” public housing development along Silver Spring Drive and to build additional rental apartments and houses at market prices.

About $ 2 million of the proposal would be used to cover remaining infrastructure costs for the Westlawn project, such as new paved roads, alleys, and water and sewer systems. The infrastructure work there is about 80% complete, according to Barrett’s office.

Barrett’s proposal also includes:

  • $ 5 million to help low-income residents fund energy-efficient retrofits to their homes such as improving insulation and HVAC systems, which in turn reduces their energy bills.
  • $ 2 million for three low-income residential projects currently being developed to address pandemic-related economic challenges such as shipping delays, supply bottlenecks and rising material costs.
  • $ 1.8 million in support of a right-to-right program that provides a free lawyer for eligible Milwaukee County residents at risk of eviction. It would also aim to reduce “unscrupulous landlord practices” and unnecessary evictions. The city would cooperate with the Legal Aid Society, among others.
  • $ 1.2 million Expansion of homebuyer and foreclosure advisory programs, funding of six new positions for three years. The counselors provide pre and post home purchase assistance, as well as help with mortgage and foreclosures.
  • $ 1.2 million to fund two-person teams cleaning, repairing, and dismantling the residue of empty Milwaukee Housing Authority homes – to create more housing for people waiting for services. Approximately 92% of the units are currently occupied, and city officials estimate that the additional staff would increase the occupancy to 98% or more.
  • $ 1.2 million towards the Resource center for rental apartments, an organization that provides landlords and tenants with advice and assistance.

The city received half of the $ 394 million and will receive the second half in 10 months, Barrett said. The money has to be spent in about four years.

“This gives us an opportunity to address the very serious problems we have here in Milwaukee,” he said.

More:Milwaukee receives $ 400 million in federal funding. One plan would spend $ 150 million to create over 1,000 affordable housing units.

More:The future of public housing in Milwaukee is vouchers, not buildings – and that could improve housing security

Contact Sophie Carson at (414) 223-5512 or scarson@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter below @SCarson_News.

Mayor Professional Tem Johnson Runs Assembly With Distinctive Model

Mayor Nancy Vaughan virtually attended the city council meeting on Tuesday, May 18, and Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson chaired the meeting.

Johnson, who was mayor from 2007 to 2009 and has been mayor since the 1990s, has a style of holding meetings of her own.

Johnson began the meeting by saying, “The mayor is on Zoom. She has a little stomach problem which is why she is not here. “This statement sparked a lot of laughter from their fellow councilors and the few staff members in the audience and set the tone for the meeting.

Johnson also began the meeting by asking Councilor Michelle Kennedy to lead the council on pledge of allegiance. Kennedy refuses to make the promise of allegiance even though it stands. So Kennedy refused, and Councilor Justin Outling led the pledge.

This meeting was hybrid, meaning that some, but not necessarily all of the council members are in the chamber and the public is attending Zoom. Vaughan and Councilor Marikay Abuzuaiter attended this meeting virtually. However, as it was a hybrid meeting, all votes cast by the Council should be roll-call votes, which are lengthy and time-consuming. Johnson, who likes to keep the meetings moving, decided that they could vote by show of hands on some items and by voting on others.

Johnson also throws much of the formalities of meetings out the window. When calling for votes, Johnson usually asked for a vote from “Mayor Vaughan” followed by “Abuzuaiter”, not “Councilor Abuzuaiter” or “Ms. Abuzuaiter” or even “Marikay Abuzuaiter”, but simply “Abuzuaiter”. For one vote, Johnson called all council members by their first names, with the exception of Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who had to be distinguished from council member Nancy Hoffmann.

Johnson, who, as noted, likes to keep the meeting moving, also voted on items 24 and 25 before hosting the public hearing, which confused everyone for a while. City Manager David Parrish eventually stepped in and set things up again. The public hearing took place after the vote.

The city council also voted to continue a point setting the date for the city council elections on November 2, 2021, and then heard the two speakers who had signed up to address the point.

On a routine item that was $ 2,551,355.68, Johnson said, “Can we just round this to 70 cents?” . If you can’t laugh, you’re in bad shape. “

Lin-Manuel Miranda, mayor open new Instances Sq. vaccine web site for leisure staff

The lights went out on Broadway in March 2020.

Most of the stages remain dark and the seats are empty, but when vaccination begins in New York, the city set up a vaccination clinic in Times Square for the theater, film, and television communities only.

“We want to meet again and tell stories in the dark. We can’t do that if we don’t feel safe and you don’t feel safe, ”said award-winning playwright and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda on Monday.

He and Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the new vaccination center at 20 Times Square. It opened up to people both on stage and in front of the camera and behind the scenes. The city has been working to make the arts work.

“Yes, it’s part of our economy, more importantly, it’s part of our identity. It’s part of who we are. It’s part of our heart, ”said Mayor de Blasio.

Emily Pecoraro was thrilled to play her alto saxophone during a performance in Father Duffy Square on Monday. She said she was eager to get back in theaters.

“With a little optimism and a little organization, we can do it,” she said.

Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo said the city was continuing to reopen Broadway in September.

“That’s why we wanted to set this up. So we could all get vaccinated and they could start working and rehearsing, ”said Commissioner del Castillo.

The vaccination center is manned by unemployed theater workers.

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Miami Seashore Mayor Presents Plan to Rework Leisure District – NBC 6 South Florida

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber unveiled his plan to transform the city’s entertainment district into an Art Deco cultural district that includes improved policing, code enforcement, and a final call to sell alcohol at 2 a.m.

In a video, Gelber presented the 12-point plan for district conversion that he has been pushing for since taking office in 2017.

“We have to start with this change and it has to be bold, not gradual,” he said.

In the plan, facilities in the entertainment district cannot sell alcohol after 2 a.m., and only facilities with adequate security and good records of compliance can apply for a late night nightclub license. The final call could be extended to nearby facilities “to prevent these challenges from migrating to other parts of our city”. The current last call time is 5:00 a.m.

Gelber also stressed the need for improved policing and a specialized code enforcement unit for South Beach.

“You should know all local owners so they can clarify the road rules,” the plan says.

click Here read the 12 point map of the Art Deco cultural district.

In his annual state of the city speech on Monday, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber made one thing very clear: It’s time for the city’s entertainment district. NBC 6’s Marissa Bagg reports

Meanwhile, several members of the Miami-Dade County’s Community Relations Board met with Miami Beach residents Tuesday to try to contain the noisy crowds and violence in South Beach.

“It’s not about the amount, it’s about the behavior,” said one resident.

“Far too many of us point our fingers instead of saying how to do it with all of our hands,” said another.

The county billed the Ocean Drive meeting as a “listening session,” an opportunity for the Board to brainstorm what could potentially lead to a quieter South Beach.

The two main weekends in March resulted in massive crowds, bad behavior and violence on the streets. Hundreds of people were arrested.

CRB member Ervins Ford, who is black, chairs the panel’s Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Committee. He went into the subject of race.

The chaos in Miami Beach raised concerns about whether some spring breakers have been targeted for their race. NBC 6’s Ari Odzer reports

“Don’t see me as a sale, don’t call me Uncle Tom just because it is the way it is,” he said. “You have our people out here just being embarrassing,” said Ford.

Some residents accuse the city of not having a plan, despite knowing what the spring break and other weekends bring to make a big impact.

“If it’s 20 years, persistent, more violent, and longer year by year, then it’s a city guide problem,” said South Beach resident Tania Dean.

Possible solutions to calm South Beach were more video surveillance, stricter curfews and more police on the streets. The CRB will review these ideas and may make recommendations to the County Commission that could take action or technical measures to address the high impact weekends on South Beach.

Vermont pet mayor helps raises cash for canine park

FAIR HAVEN, Vt. (AP) – The re-elected Mayor of Fair Haven has achieved his goal of raising money for a new dog park.

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Murfee, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, received $ 5,000 in donations, and a Castleton couple, WCAX-TV, raised that amount reported. The US $ 10,000 will go to Fur Haven Dog Park.

Murfee was re-elected for a second term in March in a close race with a hen named “Colonel Kernel”.

Fair Haven started to have a volunteer mayor to raise money for the renovation of a playground in the community and to civically involve the local children. In 2018, residents elected Lincoln to the Goat as Honorary Mayor.

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After the fundraising campaign for the playground, the city decided to run a dog park.

Mayor vows to retain state cash for Sewerage & Water Board, regardless of metropolis’s large stimulus payout

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the state has already allocated $ 20 million to the Sewerage & Water Board to incorporate a new Entergy substation planned for its Carrollton facility. It’s money she wants to keep despite New Orleans standing in line to receive a huge grant from the latest round of federal pandemic aid. Cantrell told an S&WB board meeting on Wednesday that she had heard Baton Rouge “rumble” about possible efforts to take back the state money. She said she would reach out to the New Orleans Legislative Delegation for assistance. The latest round of pandemic funds, part of the American Rescue Plan Act, includes $ 375 million for New Orleans – one of the largest grants for any U.S. city and by far the largest in Louisiana. Cantrell said money will offset the city’s spending and loss of tax revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. “No effort should be made to divert those (state) dollars that have been identified for the substation integration,” said Cantrell. The Sewerage & Water Board needs to borrow $ 34 million from Entergy’s finance department to pay for the substation, which is scheduled to go live in 2023. The state’s $ 20 million will be used to add this new power source to the facility’s existing grid, Ghassan Korban, executive director of the Sewerage & Water Board, said the utility will deploy nearly $ 30 million in federal funds that are already in place available for all of his power plant modernization plans. He is also filing an additional $ 46 million with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Korban said the Sewerage & Water Board will tap multiple wells to spend $ 45 million on three more frequency converters needed for Entergy’s modern power generation, and hide it for use in its outdated drainage facility. A portion of $ 5 million will come from the 2019 Fair Share Agreement to align tourism tax revenue with urban infrastructure needs. Another $ 30 million will be borrowed from Entergy. Cantrell and other local officials are expected to explore several state ways to pay for Sewerage & Water Board projects. Without state or federal funding, the Sewerage & Water Board would likely have to reach out to customers to pay to upgrade its electrical grid. A series of 10% annual increases in S&W bills that started in 2013 ended last year. A rating service that reviews the utility’s ability to borrow money said a further increase in customer rate would likely be required if the government fails to pay the bill for their large-scale projects.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the state has already allocated $ 20 million to the Sewerage & Water Board to incorporate a new Entergy substation planned for its Carrollton facility. It’s money she wants to keep despite New Orleans poised to receive a huge allocation from the latest round of federal pandemic aid.

Cantrell told an S&WB board meeting Wednesday that she had heard Baton Rouge “rumble” about possible efforts to withdraw the state money. She said she would reach out to the New Orleans Legislative Delegation for assistance.

The latest round of pandemic funds, part of the American Rescue Plan Act, includes $ 375 million for New Orleans – one of the largest grants for a U.S. city and by far the largest in Louisiana. Cantrell said money was meant to offset the city’s expenses and lose tax revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“No effort should be made to divert those (state) dollars that have been identified for the substation integration,” said Cantrell.

The Sewerage & Water Board needs to borrow $ 34 million from Entergy’s finance department to pay for the substation, which is scheduled to go live in 2023. The state’s $ 20 million will be used to add this new power source to the facility’s existing grid.

Ghassan Korban, executive director of the Sewerage & Water Board, said the utility will already be putting $ 30 million in federal funds into its overall plans to modernize the power plant. It is also filing an additional $ 46 million with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.

Korban said the Sewerage & Water Board will tap multiple sources to spend $ 45 million on three more frequency converters. This equipment is required to take advantage of Entergy’s modern form of electricity for use in obsolete drainage systems. A portion of $ 5 million will come from the 2019 Fair Share Agreement to align tourism tax revenue with the needs of the city’s infrastructure. Another $ 30 million will be borrowed from Entergy.

Cantrell and other local officials are expected to explore multiple government channels to pay for Sewerage & Water Board projects. Without state or federal funding, the Sewerage & Water Board would likely have to reach out to customers to pay to upgrade its electrical grid.

A series of 10% annual increases in S&W bills that started in 2013 ended last year. A rating service that reviews the utility’s ability to borrow money has determined that if the government fails to pay the bill for their large projects, further increases in customer rates would likely be required.

Detroit mayor rejects preliminary J&J vaccine cargo, calls Pfizer, Moderna ‘one of the best’

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan turned down an initial allocation of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 single vaccine this week, according to the Michigan State Department of Health.

At a news conference Thursday, Duggan confirmed that he had refused to grant J&J vaccines from the state this week, citing sufficient supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to meet demand from eligible residents.

“Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best. And I’ll do everything I can to make sure the Detroit city residents get the best,” Duggan said at a news conference Thursday.

The FDA on Saturday authorized J & J’s Covid-19 emergency vaccine is the third vaccine approved for distribution in the United States and the only one that requires only one dose.

Clinical trial data shows that J & J’s vaccine provides 66% overall protection against Covid, compared to around 95% for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. While some have raised concerns about the lower rate of effectiveness of the J&J vaccine, the J&J vaccine is concerned has proven Prevent 100% of virus-related hospitalizations and deaths according to its clinical trial data.

“All vaccines are safe and effective, and I recommend that all vaccines be offered in all communities,” said Dr. Michigan chief medical executive Joneigh Khaldun in a statement to CNBC.

“Also, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been studied in a more recent period of time with more easily transmissible variants, so I would not recommend comparing the Pfizer and Moderna studies directly with the Johnson and Johnson studies,” Khaldun said.

At a news conference on Friday, Andy Slavitt, Senior White House Covid Advisor, said Duggan’s comments on the J&J vaccine had been misunderstood.

“We have had a constant dialogue with Mayor Duggan … He is very excited about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. And I think we want to reiterate the message that the very first vaccine we can take makes perfect sense for all of us is take, “said Slavitt.

In a statement later Friday, Duggan reiterated the effectiveness of the J&J shot in preventing hospitalizations and Covid-related deaths.

“The only reason we decided not to take the first shipment from Johnson & Johnson was because we had the capacity with Moderna and Pfizer to handle the 29,000 first and second dose appointments planned for the coming week which has already brought us very close to our capacity at our current locations, “Duggan said in a statement on Friday.

The J&J allotment, rejected by Duggan, comprised 6,200 doses that were distributed to other local Michigan health departments, according to Bob Wheaton, spokesman for the state health department.

Wheaton said the state doesn’t expect to receive any more J&J vaccines “for a few weeks.”

Duggan said the city will open a new vaccination site for J&J shots if demand from eligible residents exceeds supply of Moderna and Pfizer cans.

“We always planned to distribute Johnson & Johnson as soon as demand warranted it, and we had our distribution plan so we could make it available to our residents as much as Moderna and Pfizer,” Duggan said in Friday’s statement. “By the time the next J&J broadcast arrives, we’ll have our plan to make it available.”