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Waco: city council, staff considering opportunities for public input on stimulus spending

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 6:23 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Waco is getting almost $35 million from the stimulus package passed earlier this year, and now the city is working on how best to spend it.

The money has to be used in specific ways. That includes responding to the public health emergency and its negative impacts, premium pay for eligible workers, providing government services and making necessary improvements to water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

Final guidance on how exactly cities can spend money is expected later this month or next month, but city staff are looking at ways to get feedback from locals on how it should be used.

The tool people to look at the money Waco has gotten so far and offer thoughts on how the money should be spent. City staff will be able to track that and include it in the final proposal to city council.

Staff said the tool is a great way for people to see the impact of the money, and share where they think it would be used best.

“It may well be that we, let’s for example say that we allocate council allocates money to household assistance and small business,” Paul Cain, assistant city manager said in a June meeting. “And you wish over time, perhaps based on community demand, community assessment to shift those dollars around and move more from one to the other.”

Even after the city has decided how to spend the stimulus money, city staff said there is a possibility the online tool could be used as part of the traditional budget process.

The city is still discussing how exactly to get the public involved in the process, especially how to make sure everyone has a fair chance to share their thoughts. It’s set to be on the agenda again for Tuesday’s budget meeting.

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