By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
The City of St. Joseph could receive nearly $40 million from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief and economic stimulus plan pushed by President Joe Biden and passed by Congress.
St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray says the Missouri Municipal League has calculated what each Missouri city will receive. McMurray notes an allocation that large will make a big impact on the city budget.
“In round numbers, the city budget is $160-to-170 million total, including capital stuff,” McMurray says, pointing out the city council has had to cut the city budget due to a drastic drop of revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. He gives as an example the lack of events at the Missouri Theater and the Civic Arena due to COVID-19 restrictions, “So, there’s some money there that can be recouped.”
McMurray says the money is intended to offset tax revenue or user fees lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. A portion of the money can be spent on infrastructure, including sewers and broadband.
The money is expected to come over a two-year period; half this year, the remainder next year.
McMurray says a portion of the money would offset losses in gaming revenue.
“And that’s where we spend a lot of money on some of the agencies in town like the Chamber (of Commerce) and others that request funding from the city,” McMurray says. “So, with that being off, perhaps that’s an area that those lost revenues can be replenished by some of this approximately $20 million that we should be receiving by summer.”
McMurray admits the total shocked him.
“And we can certainly put it to good use. But I was surprised to say the least.”