WARREN — A panel established by Warren Mayor Doug Franklin is considering 52 applications by residents and others to use a share of more than $28 million provided to Warren under the American Rescue Plan Act.
The city has received approximately $31.6 million in requests from community organizations and businesses through its website and other methods, but approximately $11 million remains in uncommitted funds if all city council plans are funded.
The city council has already engaged in a variety of projects and has agreed to allow each council member to recommend how $500,000 should be used for projects in their neighborhood or other specific city needs.
VOTE EXPECTED TODAY
Today, Council members will consider using a portion of their share to provide additional funds needed for the city’s three road projects planned for this year. Costs for 2022 road projects have risen significantly since plans were drawn up due to supply chain issues. The city no longer has enough money to complete these road construction projects.
Affected projects include the restoration of the Reserve Avenue bridges, the 2022 City Roads Contract, and the 2022 Ohio Public Works Commission/Community Development Block Grant road projects.
City Auditor Vince Flask, along with Community Development Manager Michael Keys and members of council, said all three projects can be done. However, the plan will only work if each council member pledges to contribute $63,100 from their share of $500,000 to the City Road 2022 program.
The council is expected to vote today whether it will provide the funds for the road projects, as well as $150,000 for replacement sewer lines for the Packard Park wading pool and $250,000 for a software package requested by the police department .
If all requested programs are funded, there would be approximately $11 million left for the $31.6 million in projects requested by the community.
The Trumbull County Land Bank and the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership want the council to set aside $3.7 million of ARP funds for a variety of projects they plan to complete over the next few years. The money would only be required once the work was completed.
Various board members, including Todd Johnson, D-1st Ward, and Ronald White, D-7th Ward, said they were uncomfortable approving any further use of ARP funds until the board be made aware of all proposed projects.
Johnson said ARP funds are limited and he doesn’t want it to be “nickeled and faded”, and not used to effect generational change in the city.
A committee made up of two members of council, the mayor, the director of security and a company hired by the city to review all applications will determine whether the organizations meet the criteria established by the federal government.
Robert Jadloski, founder and owner of Aerial Solutions Experts, which uses drones to take aerial photos throughout the Mahoning Valley, is seeking $400,000 to help launch a program that would send drones to 911 call sites. to provide video footage of the scenes prior to the arrival of officers and/or firefighters.
Images would be sent to officers’ laptops as they drove to the scene so they knew what type of situations they were approaching.
Jadloski has been developing this project for about a year. The total cost of launching the program is estimated at $1.5 million.
“I have other communities that are interested in doing this,” says Jadloski. “However, I was born and raised in Warren and I want to start here. I plan to keep the company headquarters in this area, so that we can develop jobs.
Jadloski said three to four drones would be provided to cover Warren. Once the program is expanded, the number of drones can be expanded to seven to cover the entire county.
“It will be the first in the state” he said.
Amanda Powell-Hebert is seeking $50,000 for a spaying/neutering and vaccination clinic in the city of Warren. It would provide required vaccinations for dogs and cats, as well as leashes and collars and microchips for animals. The majority of the funds, about $40,000, would be used to provide medical treatment, and the rest for equipment.
“I would like to do it at no cost to the residents”, said Powell-Hebert. “Vet bills can be expensive, especially for residents with already limited incomes.”
Powell-Hebert said there is an overpopulation of stray cats and dogs in the county, so there is a need for a program that will help slow their birth rate.
“Each dog can have a litter of 10 or 12 puppies”, said Powell-Hebert. “Same for cats.”
The spaying and sterilization program is seen as a long-term solution, she said.
Three educators – Lea Dotson, Erica Glover and Sydney Glover – seek to launch the Warren Promise Early Learning Summer Initiative to provide a study-focused program to address learning losses experienced by children during the recent years due to the pandemic.
The program is seeking $100,000 from the ARP program.
“We want to help close the learning gaps that many children still experience,” said Dotson. “We are all educators and former school district directors from Ohio and Florida. We have extensive training and professional experience.
Dotson said educational gaps are widening, especially among children attending urban school districts.
“We just want to do our part to fill the existing gaps,” she says. “Much of the money will be used to buy hardware, buy educational software and, if needed, provide Wi-Fi services to children.”
Dotson said tutors will be able to work directly with children in real time, so they can work with them to solve problems students are having.
“ARP funds will not be used for salaries and administrative costs”, she says. “We want this program to be self-contained, so it will be used for equipment, technology and associated broadband costs.”