2021 Prescott Election Q&A: How should the city be spending its COVID-related federal money, including the American Rescue Plan money? Do you agree with the city’s approach so far?
The city must consider its existing PSPRS liabilities in spending any federal monies. We must pay down this public pension debt and eliminate the tax on citizens as quickly as possible. As Councilman, I proposed using a significant amount of CARES money to pay down the city’s PSPRS liability. Instead, CARES money was allocated primarily to new projects: the northern Prescott economic development study (including a traffic component), and the Granite Creek Corridor beautification.
The initial CARES money was earmarked for the following projects: Granite Creek Corridor master plan implementation, Prescott North Area Plan and Downtown Plan (traffic, infrastructure, commercial/retail development and open space/trails, etc.), business and tourism marketing, vaccination POD reimbursement to local providers, and the Center for the Future (a tech incubator/job creation).
All of these items benefit the community as a whole by improving quality of life and creating a strong economic outlook for future generations.
I would prefer the CARES money to be used for basic service infrastructure improvement to benefit the entire community.
Prescott's management of the COVID relief gave us the grant program for business and families, as well as the enhancement of the Granite Creek Corridor revitalization. I think this has been a sound approach, and we need to continue addressing community needs when it comes to these funds.
I think CARES money should be shared with small businesses in Prescott that have experienced the direct financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to ensure the survivability of small businesses that provide employment and make Prescott uniquely “Prescott.” Any leftover funds should be used to lessen the tax burden on businesses and citizens to bolster and strengthen our local economy. We should not spend the money on new projects and programs.
We need to ensure we get these funds to the people that have been affected the most. I believe the work that has been done, like grants to families and small businesses, is a great start and we need to continue to see how our community needs these dollars and allocate appropriately. It is important to listen and as your councilwoman, I will work to listen and serve the needs of Prescott.
It should be made very clear from the government what this money is to be used for. It has not been made clear at all. American Rescue Plan money for what? We have moved very slow on how this money is spent because of the changing of the rules. We have spent some on police as well as medical field help with COVID shots. We have not put the money down a rabbit hole.
I think federal relief money should be used to help invest in our local businesses. With that being said, I worry about the increasing appearance of cronyism and elected officials providing opportunities to their friends or spouses. I don’t think that the City Council should be picking winners and losers regarding local businesses. There should be a fair and transparent process and accountability. None of these decisions should be happening behind closed doors.