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Superior council seeks answers before passing budget

Councilors seek more detail, assurance that one-time funding will be spent wisely

Government Center in Superior.jpg
Government Center Boardroom, Superior, Wisconsin. (Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram)
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The Superior City Council is going to take some time to review proposed expenditures for $17 million in funding awarded to the city under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Mayor Jim Paine proposed using the money for historic preservation, infrastructure, public safety, parks and recreation nonprofit grants and to address social issues.

While some proposed expenditures, such as storm water infrastructure for the Hammond Avenue reconstruction project, are clearly defined, most require further explanation and approval from the council before the money is actually spent.

At the Tuesday, Jan. 18, city council meeting, Councilor Jack Sweeney said he would like a further breakdown on how the money would be spent and assurances that the money would be spent wisely.

“Let’s take the historical rehabilitation,” Sweeney said. “I would like to break that down.”

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He questioned what buildings the money might be spent on and what assurances the council would have that the buildings would be maintained after the city helps with the rehabilitation.

Two buildings were lost in the fire.

Paine proposed spending $4 million to rehabilitate historic structures after fire destroyed two historic warehouses near the city’s waterfront earlier this month. Paine said he reallocated the money from broadband, which could be eligible for additional grant funds through the federal infrastructure bill.

The council referred the budget to the next committee of the whole meeting to be held Feb. 1.

“I look forward to debating all of the items in this budget,” Paine said. “I’m obviously very proud of it. We’ve worked on it for a long time.”

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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