City Council votes to spend ARPA funds on public safety projects, repairs

The Cape Girardeau City Council voted to spend more than $700,000 from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act Funds on public safety.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 7:35 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau City Council voted tonight on how to spend the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act Funds.

A majority of the money will be spent on items that relate to public safety.

The $1.3 million from the federal government are budgeted to be spent the following ways:

  • $161,800 for demolition expenses related to removal of condemned buildings.
  • $150,000 for the installation and upgrade of tornado sirens.
  • $90,000 for replacement of Fire Marine Unit #3.
  • $160,000 for improvements and upgrades to Ranney Park.
  • $100,000 for the exterior painting of Osage Center.
  • $231,600 for equipment and installation of an Automatic License Plate Recognition Camera System.
  • $125,000 for upgrading Commo and Jailer positions to Public Safety Pension.
  • $250,000 for the expansion of the ShotSpotter System.
  • $40,000 for the equipment and installation of a notification system, including Public Safety issues.
  • $40,000 for a City mobile application.
  • $25,000 for a Bill Pay Kiosk at the Shawnee Community Center to provide access to bill paying options for vulnerable populations.

Council member Shannon Truxel of Ward 5 was the only vote against the plan. She voiced opposition to the inclusion of the $100,000 for the exterior painting of the Osage Center. And proposed several amendments to spend the funds in other areas but all were defeated. Other council members were in support of providing the funds to the ongoing upkeep of the Osage Center.

The $161,800 dollars would be used to help demolish the backlog of condemned properties in the city. Currently there are 30-40 properties that are on the list which each building costing 6-8 thousand dollars to clean up. The money would be used for the demolition of the property only. Other costs would be handled by the city.

The upgraded tornado sirens funds would support building 4 new sirens with towers in the city. The placement would be in areas where there is a gap in coverage. The sirens would also allow emergency management officials to have a backup control to the county.

The fire departments Fire Marine Unit Number 3 has reached its end of life and will be replaced with a newer model flat bottomed boat with updated GPS and communication systems.

Ranney Park will receive upgrades and outdoor bathrooms. This will include playground equipment.

The Osage Center will receive a new coat of paint. The windows will be caulked. This should allow one of the most heavily used facilities in the city to be free from rain damage for the next decade.

The equipment for the Automatic License Plate Recognition Camera System and the expansion of the ShotSpotter System will work hand in hand to allow police to track shots fired and vehicles entering and leaving the area of the crime. The extension of the shot spotter system will cover an addition 1.3 square miles of the city.

The city mobile application would allow faster communication between the people and their elected officials. Allowing them to report potholes or other such problems on their phones. The notification system would allow faster communication from police, fire or city hall directly to city residents.

And finally, the Bill Pay Kiosk would allow extended hour payments for city services. It would be located at the Shawnee Community Center and be available during the center’s open hours.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was passed to provide addition relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.

In other actions the city accepted a Department of Justice Grant to update the Cape Girardeau Police Department’s body cameras.