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Home » Minden City Council charts course for $4.1M allocation from American Rescue Plan Act

Minden City Council charts course for $4.1M allocation from American Rescue Plan Act

by Minden Press-Herald

The Mayor and City Council met on Monday evening to hold a workshop where they discussed their plans for allocating the funding from The American Rescue Plan Act for the city of Minden. As a result of the act, the city is given $4,100,000 to put towards making improvements in the community, including projects like replacing water lines, improving community facilities such as the REC Center and community house, and enhancing the animal shelter, among others.

Mayor Nick Cox created a working budget that provided rough estimates of how much the ARPA money would be used for each project. He made it clear that these estimates were ballpark figures and were subject to change as more solid estimates became available.

“I gave a lot of thought to the things that y’all wanted. The things that we, it seems like, as a group, wanted to see accomplished,” said Mayor Cox. “We have one shot, probably in the history of the city, to put some money towards getting us a step ahead. Never before in the history of the city of Minden have we had a windfall like this, so we could do something good with it.”

The listed items that the ARPA money is planned to be used for include the public works building, the animal shelter, the REC Department, audio and video equipment for the Civic Center, remodeling the community house, maintenance of the Shreve Water Main, airport hangars for the Minden Airport, and city cleanup and condemnations.

While going down the listed items to the Council, the Mayor gave general explanations of what the money would be used for. Regarding the funding for the REC Center, Mayor Cox was particular that he wanted the money to go towards improving the experience of the kids and citizens who utilize those facilities. “I want it spent on stuff that makes the kids have a better recreation experience,” said Cox.

One of the more practical items was the maintenance for the Shreve Water Main. The Mayor gave a concise explanation of the importance of this water line, stating, “If it goes down, we are done for. That is the most practical thing on the list. That is the line that connects the water pumping to the water tower.”

Another interesting item was investing in building ten new hangars at the Minden Airport. These hangars would then be rented out to aircraft owners and generate revenue for the city. “I know that the airport is a tricky subject, but if you just look at this from a business standpoint, if we spend this money at an airport, it’s the one place on this list where we actually make it back,” said Mayor Cox. The hangars themselves would generate $30,000 a year, on top of the profit from gas that the renters would also be purchasing.

In order for the city to oversee the use of the ARPA funds in some departments, special committees were made with members appointed by the Mayor. These include the Recreation and Civic Affairs Committee with Chairman Andy Pendergrass and Vice Chair Buddy Myles, the Animal Shelter Committee with Chairman Michael Roy and Vice Chair Charlie Thomas, and the Property Standards Committee with Chairman Buddy Myles and Vice Chair Latasha Mitchell.

“It’s a big number, but if y’all agree to do that, I want the way the money is spent to be approved by the Chairman of these committees,” said Cox.

Near the end of the meeting, the Mayor reiterated about the working ARPA budget, “I just tried to look at all the things that y’all talk about a lot. And like I said, this is our shot to sprinkle some money through the city and hopefully it pays off in dividends.” As a result of the workshop, it seems that motions to move forward with this budget will be voted on during the May Minden City Council Meeting.

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