The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law by President Biden in March 2021. Through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF), it guarantees direct relief to cities, towns and villages in the United States. The U.S. Department of the Treasury is responsible for overseeing this program.
What is the Purpose?
The purpose of this one-time funding is to assist in recovering from the public health emergency and its negative economic impacts of the pandemic. Therefore the City’s overarching focus is primarily on public health, public safety, and long-term infrastructure benefits (i.e. stormwater, affordable housing, pedestrian walkability).
For brevity, the City will refer to this as ARPA.
How Much Money will the City of Falls Church Receive and When?
$18 Million Total: The City will receive $18,004,561. The City qualifies for two portions: $2,839,181 directly from the federal government as an independent city and $15,165,381 through Virginia for “non-entitled local government units that have population below 50,000.”
Half Received Now, Second Half Expected in 2022: The first half of $9,002,281 was received in June 2021, and the second half with the remaining $9,002,281 should be received in July 2022.
Encumber by December 2024, Spend by December 2026: The City has until December 2024 to make a plan (encumber) the funds and until December 2026 to spend the funds.
How Can the City Spend the Funds?
As with all grant funding, there are restrictions on how the money can be spent. The five basic categories are:
Support public health expenditures;
Address the negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency;
Replace lost public sector revenue;
Provide premium pay for essential workers; and.
Invest in water, sewer, stormwater, and broadband infrastructure.
Using $1 Million for Immediate Needs (Approved September 2021)
At the August 9 City Council meeting (video and materials), staff proposed using $1,061,500, or 5.9 percent of the total, for immediate needs in general government, public schools, and stormwater. Council approved a Second Reading with some items (new employee positions and speed limit signage) on hold at the September 13 meeting (video and materials). The ordinance includes (see full document here):
$126,500 for assistance to residents (food, rent, dental care, implement SNAP at the Farmers Market, etc.)
$100,000 for testing and vaccination public outreach and interpretation assistance
$65,000 for technology improvements to enable work-from-home and videoconferencing
$60,000 for City facility improvements (touchless fixtures in bathrooms and water fountains, drop boxes, etc.)
$60,000 for financial and grant administration
$150,000 for mental health professionals in the public schools
$100,000 for testing and vaccinations in the public schools
$200,000 for stormwater projects
How to Comment on the City's Use of the Funds
The City welcomes input on the use of the remaining federal funds. Watch for meetings, surveys, and more in the autumn of 2021. To receive notifications about public input opportunities, subscribe here.