WHAT WE KNOW: Colona is scheduled to receive $696,000 in total in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. The first installment of $348,017 was received Sept. 7.
WHAT'S NEW: Aldermen talked about uses for the ARPA funds on Monday night. The most pressing need was for repairs at the sewer treatment plant. During the regular council meeting, aldermen approved the $19,000 purchase and installation of new underground plug valves that will enable the plant to bypass the two clarifiers that are down. Refurbishing the two clarifiers will cost an estimated $229,900, which Mayor Rich Holman noted would take up most of the first ARPA funds installment of $348,017. Using ARPA funds to refurbish the clarifiers will be placed on the Sept. 27 council agenda.
WHAT'S NEXT: Holman said he met with department heads last week and got additional ideas for ways to spend the ARPA funds. Treasurer Jen Legare said she would go through the list and see if items were actual candidates for use or not. The list includes a public safety repeater radio system, new squad cars, body cameras for police officers, storm sirens, a utility vehicle for off-road rescues, laptops for aldermen and website updates. Separately, city staff are looking into a new sewer treatment plant that would cost "millions." Holman said he met with state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, who recommended the city get ahold of IMEG Engineers and pursue Enviromental Protection Agency and Rural Development grants. He said it would be one or two years down the road before the city would find out about a grant and one or two years more to start building. "We could spend a lot in the meantime to just get by," he said.