How the Des Moines City Council will allocate $24.1 million in funds


The Des Moines City Council has allocated approximately $24 million in U.S. federal bailout funds for water and sewer infrastructure projects, library projects, and various uses for the Des Moines Neighborhood Development Corporation.

In total, the city received $94.8 million under the 2021 U.S. bailout. The city has wide discretion over how to spend the funds.

The council allocated $8 million to stormwater infrastructure projects, $5 million to sewer construction projects, and $7.5 million to the Des Moines Neighborhood Development Corporation for various uses. The Des Moines Botanical Garden and the Blank Park Zoo each received $1 million. The Des Moines Public Library was awarded $350,000 for Wi-Fi hotspot programs and an HVAC upgrade program.

According to the U.S. Treasury, the city can spend funds on:

  • Wage premium for essential workers
  • Coping with negative economic impacts.
  • Water and sewer infrastructure.
  • High-speed Internet.
  • Support the public health response to COVID-19.
  • Replace lost public sector revenue.

ARPA funds cannot be used to reduce taxes, increase rainy day funds, pay legal settlements, or bolster pension funds.

At its June 27 meeting, the board approved a plan to allocate $3.5 million to its parking business fund to recover revenue lost during the pandemic and $2.5 million to a community center on the north side.

About $60 million in ARPA funds have yet to be allocated by the council. The board will approve ARPA’s third and fourth rounds of funding at its August 22 and September 12 meetings.

Previously:Des Moines City Council receives recommendations on spending $95 million on pandemic relief

Appointment of a new City Clerk

Council promoted Laura Baumgartner from assistant city clerk to city clerk on Monday night. Former City Clerk Kay Cmelik retired on June 3. Baumgartner served 21 years in the city clerk’s office.

In a press release, Mayor Frank Cownie said Baumgartner demonstrated his commitment to the city while rising through the ranks of the clerk’s office.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and want to thank everyone I have worked with,” Baumgartner said in a press release. “I’m excited to be a part of the great things happening here in the city of Des Moines.”

Philip Joens covers public safety, municipal government and RAGBRAI for the Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-443-3347 at [email protected] or on Twitter @Philip_Joens.


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