City of La Crosse has a plan how to distribute $11 million worth of American Rescue Plan Act funds

Mayor Mitch Reynolds says the city council approved releasing the first 10 percent of total funds to people struggling financially and medically from the pandemic

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The city of La Crosse has been sitting on millions of dollars from the federal government since June, but Mayor Mitch Reynolds says he has a plan to distribute it.

The city received $11 million from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act.

The funding is just the first of two payments the city of La Crosse received.

It is money the Treasury Department sets the guidelines for.

“Which are, frankly, pretty restrictive,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds says the money can be used for infrastructure, homeless needs, as well covering the needs for families, businesses and non-profits.

Last month, the city council approved releasing 10 percent of the total funds to people struggling financially and medically from the pandemic.

“We are trying to get that funding to groups that can help people right away,” Reynolds said.

All applications are reviewed by the city before being given the green light.

The mayor says he doesn’t have a breakdown specifically how much money is going to each recipient, but he expects the first 10 percent of funding will be distributed within the next month.

“We’ve been asking for recommendations from people in the community to tell us what they think we should use the funding for,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds says the city had no concrete plans how to distribute the money before receiving it in June.

“In some ways, it’s just a grant process, but an enormous grant process that encompasses all kinds of funding possibilities,” he said.

And this process is an opportunity, Reynolds says, may never happen again.

“When you rush to spend the money, you often will waste it,” he said. “And we certainly don’t want to do that.”

The city will receive the other half of the money — about $11 million — in about a year.

La Crosse isn’t the only city getting American Rescue Plan dollars.

Eau Claire’s finance department director Jay Winzenz says that city is receiving a total of $13.5 million worth of ARPA funds.

He anticipates it will take months before the first half of that money is dished out.

La Crosse’s online ARPA portal can be found here.

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