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Council meets Monday on how to use stimulus

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Gazette staff
March 14, 2009
— Janesville is gearing up to grab what it can from the federal stimulus package.

The city council will hold a special meeting Monday to discuss what opportunities are available and where its priorities lie in getting its share of the $787 billion stimulus plan that Congress passed in February.


The city has come up with a wish list of about $55 million in projects that stimulus money might be able to cover. City Manager Eric Levitt said he doesn’t expect to receive anywhere near that amount.


“If we get $5 million to $10 million, I think that would be very good,” Levitt said Friday.


The list includes upgrades to make the Janesville Ice Skating Center more energy efficient, including replacing the freon-based ice-making system, which is said to be years out of date and in danger of failing.


The city estimates $800,000 would fix the ice-making system.


Also on the list is $1 million to build a new water tower and upgrade water mains.


And, there’s a $672,000 request to build the controversial, proposed pedestrian tunnel under East Milwaukee Street.


Monday’s council meeting has three goals, Levitt said:


- Update the council on what funding programs are available and what the city has applied for from the state.


- Learn the council’s priorities so city staff knows which funding programs it should target.


- Identify two or three projects to submit for federal appropriation requests in the 2010 fiscal year, which starts in fall. These requests might duplicate some of the stimulus requests, Levitt said.


The wish list also includes these items that city staff has identified as having the highest priority. Some of these have been identified as needs for a number of years:


- About $9 million in street and bridge improvements.


- $8.5 million, under two different grants, to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant.


- $5 million to acquire, demolish and remediate “various industrial sites.”


- $4 million for a new central fire station.


- $2 million to replace street lights with induction or light-emitting diode technology and install a new control system to dim or shut off lights during peak hours.


- $2 million to buy, demolish and rehab foreclosed-on properties.


- $1 million to repair the Tallman House.


- $300,000 to reduce lead hazards in housing.


- $315,552 to fill two unfilled police officer positions, which would bring the number of sworn officers up to 104.


- $200,000 to trim or replace trees in the Old Fourth Ward and Look West neighborhoods and at Oakhill Cemetery.



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