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Scranton seeking input from residents on spending federal money

Residents can take the "ARP Budget Challenge" on the city's website.

SCRANTON, Pa. — It's usually the question we ask lottery winners.

But this time, it's the city of Scranton asking residents, "how would you spend $68.7 million?"

The infusion of cash is coming from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan.

Scrantonians have no shortage of opinions on how to spend it.

"Road, bridge repair, street repair, I'd like to see a good part of that money be put back into our parks that desperately need some financial help. I'd also like to see maybe some money invested back into city hall, an old historic building that needs a lot of work," said Pat Hinton.

"I think that the best way to spend it would be to take it all to city hall in big giant bags and tell them to lower our taxes," added Jim Walsh.

Unsurprisingly, that option is not on the city's official citizen poll.

City officials set up a tool on Scranton's website where residents can voice their opinion. They're calling it the ARP Budget Challenge.

"The impetus for the challenge is we really want to solicit input from the residents of Scranton to be able to let us know what the best and most effective uses are for the ARPA funding that the city received," said Scranton Director of Community Development Eileen Cipriani.

Cipriani said the public input will be used as the city crafts its plan for the money in the coming weeks. 

Contributors can divide the money across several different areas of focus. You can also go online and vote for budgets you like.

"Generally, when you're working in municipal government, you have so many things you need to take care of, and you don't have funding. Now, we have a different problem. We have a lot of funding, and we need to figure out how to best use this effectively for long-term economic and community benefit in the city," Cipriani added.

Check out WNEP's YouTube page.   

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