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Bowie City Council reviews midyear budget, how $1.9 million in CARES act money was spent

The City of Bowie reviewed the midyear budget on Tuesday, including $1.9 million in federal revenue from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and spent over $3.5 million total in COVID-19 expenditures.

Over $3.1 million was spent on hazard pay for the essential workers in the city. Another $241,764 was spent on fringe benefits for those workers as well, including health, dental and life insurance.

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“The primary purpose of local government is to deliver services to the residents. There are three functions that have to keep going, police department, trash and recycling,” City Manager Alfred Lott said. “These people believe in making it happen. These are essential services and we didn’t miss a beat.”

Operating expenses totaled $277,990, which included PPE/screenings, food assistance, emergency rent assistance and deep cleaning. Over $50,000 was spent on both PPE/screenings and information technology.

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The city also bought a Freightliner M-2 Grapple Truck, which picks up large items and dumps them into the truck, which cost $134,226. Lott said the city wasn’t picking up large items like sofas and mattresses because of potential contamination, they bought the truck to be able to do the pickups.

Revenue for the city increased mainly because the CARES act money, and expenditures were higher due to the pandemic, Lott said. The city generated $0.4 million less in revenue for recreational activities, because of mandatory closures and an overall reduction in activities.

The city is also working on a $1.7 million paving project throughout Bowie that is 60% complete, Lott said. He expects by the end of the fiscal year it will be complete.

For the 2021 fiscal year, the city planned to spend $2,146,916 on major expenditures, which included the Bowie Iceplex project that was canceled. The city will be renovating the current ice arena.

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“We are working on what the improvements will be on the current ice arena and we are getting an architect to help make an assessment. We won’t know what those are for a while,” Lott said.

Other improvements include $42,283 to Bowie Heritage Trail, $28,205 for accessibility improvements at various locations and $13,820 for an Electric Car Charging Station at City Hall.

At the midway point, the city has spent $2,329,800 in debt services, which includes bonds for the ice arena. The city is almost finished with debt payments for the year, which they expected to cost $2.34 million. They will be done paying a bond from 2009 for the construction of city hall next year, but they still have another from 2015 that is a refinancing on that bid for a better interest rate.

Mayor Tim Adams and many councilmembers thanked Lott and the city staff for working on the budget and hard work throughout the year.

At the meeting, the council also voted to make the first Monday in March COVID-19 Memorial Day. While this would be a day of recognition, it would not be a day off for city employees.

“In remembrance of those who have lost their lives and in honor of those who are forever marked by COVID and continue to suffer from the impact of this virus,” written in the proclamation.

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