One group had its request denied by La Crosse’s city council for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding Thursday, while another was granted — sort of. The People’s Food Co-op and and the city’s Arts Board requested leftover ARPA funding.
The council said no to the Co-op, which asked for $30,000 make up for lost revenue related to the pandemic.
Council member Barb Janssen is calling for an application process, rather than just approving funds for whoever wants them.
“If we’re gonna start handing out ARPA money to businesses,” she said, “then I think we need to have a clear process to do that, and I think put everybody on a fair playing field.”
The arts board request was for $75,000. The proposals brought a similar concern from council member Erin Goggin.
“I just don’t feel that it’s fair to award money to one business and then overlook the rest of the people that aren’t asking for money, that maybe don’t even know they can ask for money,” she said.
The council plans to use leftover money from an existing city fund — to dredge lead shotgun pellets from the La Crosse River marsh — to fulfill the Arts Board request.
The city of La Crosse received around $22 million in ARPA funds during COVID. It still has about $1.5 million to distribute.
The deadline decide how to spend the funding is the end of 2024, while 2026 is the deadline to use the money.
In other business, the council has voted to delay action on licensing houses for short-term rental — to be used for parties or vacations.
A committee decided last week that the licensing plan should be studied for another month before deciding on a plan.