The City of High Springs held a city commission workshop on Tuesday to discuss relief money they received from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The city received over $3 million from the act and was given the first half of the money a few months ago.
During the workshop, the city commission listened to community comments that ranged from the police department, fire department, public works, and even parks and recreation. Each department spoke about what they needed in order to continue to serve the residents of High Springs.
Some of the high-priority issues that were brought up to the commission were body cameras for police officers, cardiac monitors and a new roof for the fire department and city hall.
Bruce Gillingham, the assistant city manager, said that the old roof on the fire department and city hall has been a critical issue for the past year.
He said funding was applied for the roofs back in 2008 to 2010, but there was not enough money budgeted to accommodate the needs now.
“We were able to live with what issues were and you know, make repairs and patches, but we’ve outlived those repairs and patches now,” Gillingham said. “So it’s been a critical issue for the last 12 to 18 months. City Hall just recently started having an issue within the last 12 or 18 months as well. So that’s another issue we’re addressing.”
Gillingham also went on to say that the ARPA funding gives the city more breathing room so that they can work on multiple projects at once.
“It just gives us a chance to utilize all of our funding to the fullest potential,” Gillingham said. “If you know we needed to update software, but I could only do a roof, now I can do all those projects. So it just it allows us to take $1 and make it $2.”
In Gillingham’s eyes, the benefits of the relief funding are going to be in funding long-term projects for High Springs.
While the meeting was open to the public, only a couple of residents attended. Everyone else who came to the meeting worked for the city.
Vice Mayor Gloria James thought the meeting was productive but hoped that more residents will attend future sessions.
“I think it was a productive meeting. But I also would like to have had additional citizens to come out,” James said. “We didn’t have as many as I was hoping we would have, but I think for what we did have in attendance I think we got some things done.”
The city of High Springs will be receiving the other half of the grant in the next couple of months and have until 2024 to spend the funding on their town.