The city needs your help deciding how best to spend its allocation of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Signed into law on March 11, 2021, ARPA created stimulus funds to assist state and local governments in their response to the impacts of COVID-19.
Boulder City’s maximum ARPA funds allocation is nearly $21.8 million, which must be used to cover eligible costs incurred no later than the end of 2024. Approximately half of this allocation was paid to the city in July 2021, and the other half was due to be released earlier this week.
ARPA funds may only be used to cover costs that fall into one of four eligible categories: 1. Responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its adverse economic impacts; 2. Premium for eligible workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 emergency; 3. Provide government services to the extent of reduced city revenue due to COVID-19; or 4. make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.
Over the past three months, City Council has approved the use of approximately $11.5 million of the city’s $21.8 million allocation for Categories 1, 3, and 4. For example, Category 1 expenses in the amount of $193,500 were approved for COVID testing and vaccinations, as well as emergency assistance from Boulder City Aid. Category 3 expenditures approved include $100,000 to cover youth sports and pool access fees, $500,000 for the clerk’s budget, $300,000 for the municipal court budget and $80,000 for community development, public works and fire department budgets. And, finally, board-approved Class 4 infrastructure spending totals more than $10.3 million, including $6.4 million for water projects and $3.9 million for utility projects. sewers.
However, approximately $10.3 million remains in unrestricted ARPA funds. And the city council needs you to come to the rescue by helping them figure out how best to spend it.
There are many ways to make suggestions. An easy way is to speak directly to one or more members of the city council or the city manager. Another way is to email some or all of them individually, or submit your email to [email protected] You can also make suggestions by going to bcnv.org/ARPA on the city’s website, scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the “Submit priorities and ideas here” link.
And there’s a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the Elaine K. Smith Building, set aside specifically to receive public comment on the use of ARPA funds. Remember that eligible costs are limited to the four categories mentioned above.
By the way, it’s interesting to me that some of the incumbents are trying to take credit for their current re-election campaigns to ensure that the city would receive its fair share of ARPA funds. Don’t be fooled by this statement. As any council member who is not re-elected will surely attest, none of the council members has had to stage a hunger strike, threaten to sue the federal government, lobby members of Congress, or lift a finger to ensure that Boulder City would get its fair share of ARPA funds. The truth is that while there was probably a fair amount of staff work involved, next to nothing needed to be done to secure these funds except to have living, breathing citizens (and possibly a few non-living ones as well). and non-breathable).
A better topic to discuss with mayoral and city council candidates, as well as incumbent council members who are not currently re-elected, is good ideas for using the city’s remaining ARPA funds. And whether implementing these ideas will ultimately result in reduced fees, charges or taxes or a better quality of life.
Are you in favor of upgrading our Bootleg Canyon trails? How about new stand-alone pickleball courts? I don’t know about you, but I can think of a few dozen ways to spend $10.3 million.
And I can almost hear you salivating from sharing your ideas too. So let’s all come to the rescue and make our voices heard while the invitation lasts. If we don’t speak now, it will soon be too late.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited for grammar, spelling and style only, and have not been checked for accuracy of views.
Rod Woodbury has resided in Boulder City for over 40 years and is President and Managing Shareholder of his law firm, Woodbury Law. He served on city council from 2011 to 2019, including four years as mayor.