In anticipation of soon receiving $175 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, Executive Bruce Dammeier submitted his proposed expenditure plan to the Pierce County Council today. The proposal was informed by and reflects input from an advisory group of community leaders, as well as leaders from cities and towns in the county.
“We have focused one of the largest portions of the county’s ARPA funds on making meaningful and sustainable progress on ensuring our residents have a safe, clean and affordable place to live,” said Dammeier. “Recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic starts with having the security of a place to call home.”
Dammeier’s proposal includes:
- $78.1 million to support the shelter needs and wellbeing of residents.
- $48.2 million to help businesses survive and begin to recover.
- $20.4 million to respond to the pandemic.
- $29 million to ensure accessible county and court operations.
Dammeier’s plan includes $69 million for homeless shelters, new housing development and low-income rental assistance, augmented by an additional $14 million in separate federal funds.
The Executive allocated $12 million for COVID testing and another $7 million to other public health services. An additional $92 million in public health funding will come from other federal and state sources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Funds would be available for business owner support, including money and training for start-up businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color.
As much as $6 million would be spent on cutting the backlog of civil and criminal court cases.
Approximately $4 million would be used to provide residents with broadband internet access.
Dammeier added that the proposal also reflects the impacts of the pandemic on the county’s youngest residents. Programs to improve youth behavioral health feature prominently in the proposed spending plan.
$1.5 million would be spent on youth summer camps and recreational programs. Additional resources would be directed to ensure youth employment opportunities.
Dammeier said his plan was guided by County Council discussions and an advisory group of community leaders. The group is made up of business, labor, and nonprofit leaders and elected officials. The group was assembled last year to provide advice on the allocation of CARES Act funds. It is co-chaired by Dammeier and Council Chair Derek Young.
Apart from the ARPA funds coming directly to County government, residents will also benefit from nearly $1 billion in funding from other state and federal sources. Those funds may be directed to initiatives such as vaccinations and other pandemic response, veterans support, domestic and family violence reduction, mental health support, food assistance, rental and mortgage assistance and broadband for K-12 schools.
Eligible use of ARPA funds includes public health response, addressing negative economic impacts, and making necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure, and must be spent by the end of 2024.
Allocations and expenditures of ARPA funds are subject to approval by the Pierce County Council. The Executive is proposing an emergency ordinance that would authorize the expenditure of the first installment of federal funds in 2021.
As with the CARES Act funds, ARPA allocations and expenditures will be fully reported and displayed on the county’s Open Pierce County dashboard.
Carol Colleran says
This is their proposal. Do they also have the ability to move the funds from one pot to another during the spending process?
If Dammeier wants ‘sustainable’ funding that can be leveraged and bonded into more money, he should encourage the county council to approve the 1/10th of 1% housing tax- rather than making a one-time news ‘splash’ with short-term fed dollars.