Hobart to use ARPA funds for body cameras, water mains
By Kevin Boneske
HOBART – After receiving half of more than $1 million the village is expecting as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – the federal grant money being provided to municipalities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – the Hobart village board passed a motion July 6 on how to spend some of it.
Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said Hobart received the first ARPA payment of $527,634 June 25, with the second payment to arrive after the first of the year.
“You do have up to Dec. 31, 2024, to expend the money,” he said.
To determine which projects to bring forward to the board for consideration, Kramer said he established the following three parameters:
• Projects provide the most benefit across the board to residents.
• Projects do not specifically benefit or could potentially benefit developers or private entities.
• Projects would free up funds for other initiatives in future budgets.
Kramer said not everyone has municipal water and sewer service in Hobart, so eliminating late water and sewer bills with ARPA funds wasn’t proposed in the village.
He said he also wouldn’t want to run an ARPA-funded water line to a possible subdivision where it would result in private gain.
Kramer said a future capital budget project could be completed early using ARPA funds.
He said the three projects he recommended would cost the village around $452,000 and leave the village with around $75,000 remaining from the first of two ARPA payments.
Kramer said providing the Hobart/Lawrence Police Department with body cameras would cost the village around $65,000, with the town paying the remaining 50 percent of the approximate $130,000 cost.
He asked the board to approve purchasing the body cameras now, because the Lawrence town board votes on the purchase Monday, July 12.
Police Chief Randy Bani said the body-worn cameras to be purchased are the Axon variety being implemented by police departments in the Greater Green Bay area.
“It’s the state-of-the-art (body camera),” he said. “It’s the top of the line.”
In addition to the cameras being worn by the officers, Bani said the department will also have additional in-car cameras to record both video and audio.
He said the cost will cover a five-year program.
After the initial five years, Bani said it would cost around $20,000 a year for the next five years to upgrade the camera program.
“It’s a really good program,” he said. “It’s something that we really have to have nowadays for officer safety, for evidence collection, for officer-involved shootings, chases. Everything will be on video and audio.”
Bani said it would take about four to six weeks to receive the body-worn cameras, while the in-car cameras are in high demand and likely wouldn’t be delivered until sometime in October.
Kramer said installing a water main on Packerland Drive from County EE to Lear Lane for a water loop to improve the redundancy of the system is estimated to cost around $222,000.
“There is no specific project in that area that this is tied into,” Kramer said.
He said extending water main and sanitary sewer from South Pine Tree to Copilot Way, along the new Autumn Joy roadway, would cost around $165,000, which he recommended paying for with ARPA funds and scheduling for 2022.
Kramer said the new roadway, which would be constructed with the water and sewer extension, he recommended paying with Tax Increment District No. 2 funds to cover the estimated $227,000 cost.
“We’re not forcing anyone to hook up to water and sewer,” he said. “This is simply for system redundancy.”
Kramer also requested the board to authorize Public Works Director Jerry Lancelle to bid out the water loop, so it could be done this fall, while the Autumn Joy work wouldn’t take place until next year when funds for the road could be earmarked.