City of Trenton Receives more than 80 Ideas from Community on American Rescue Plan

We want to thank everyone who submitted feedback via www.TalkTrenton.org! There has been a high level of engagement on the American Rescue Plan, with more than 80 suggestions from City residents and business owners. Please keep the suggestions coming! As we analyze this feedback, we’re also determining which suggestions fall into the eligible expenditure categories identified by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Some of the comments suggested Trenton invest in low-cost broadband options, youth recreation and after-school programs, jobs and scholarship programs for all ages, and facilities upgrades for historic properties and community centers. The first draft of the plan already includes several of these elements, but we’ll assess your recent feedback to determine whether the proposed programming meets the needs of the community. Other suggestions, such as additional compensation for first responders, have already been implemented, with those payments received by essential workers on July 8.

Some suggestions, while wonderful proposals for the City, are not expressly eligible spending categories, such as cutting taxes. Other ideas, however, can be adapted to include eligible projects. The City is taking every suggestion and reviewing to see whether it can be modified in order to be an eligible expense.

For example, while we may not be able to use the funds to open and staff additional library branches, those dollars can be used to invest in the main Trenton Free Public Library branch’s current needs, such as HVAC upgrades for COVID compliance, expanded youth and adult programming, jobs training, and technology improvements. Also, while the City can’t build a new community center on a vacant lot, we can invest in existing properties to serve as a site for recreational activity, a health or vaccine clinic, or other services related to COVID-19 needs.

Other suggested programs and initiatives are either already in the works or can be funded through other means. For example, we already have existing business loan programs for COVID-related expenses incurred by City businesses, but we are seeking to convert outstanding loans to grants and expand eligibility under the program. There is also already funding designated for the demolition and renovation of vacant and blighted properties. Other expenses, such as improvements to Trenton Water Works infrastructure, have been bonded out in part and may qualify for funding under a future infrastructure bill which we are eagerly anticipating.

Some residents also suggested partnerships be forged with other entities who receive Rescue Plan funding, such as Trenton Public Schools, Mercer County, and the State of New Jersey itself. We are in ongoing discussions with those and other entities to avoid duplication of programming efforts and ensure cooperation where necessary, such as in job readiness programs geared toward Trenton youth.

Thanks again for your input! We’ll post more updates as soon as we can.

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