Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund

The city is slated to receive $51.7 million from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. Money for the fund was included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that Congress passed in March. The money is being delivered in two batches: half was delivered in May 2021; the other half is scheduled to be delivered in May 2022.

The Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund is designed to give cities flexibility in responding to the health emergency and in funding projects, programs, or organizations that were economically impacted by the pandemic. In addition to programs specific to pandemic response and recovery, certain improvements to water, sewer and broadband infrastructure also can be funded, as well as programs or improvements for low-income census tracts.

The City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting Aug. 23 to discuss a framework for how it will disburse the money. The federal government has yet to publish the final rules on how the money can be spent. The council could decide to postpone any final decision until the final rules are in place.

Proposed Spending Principles

The city staff is recommending that allocation decisions be guided by these principles:

  • Transparency. The city will be open and transparent with all uses of ARPA funds, including holding public input sessions and creating public-facing dashboards.

  • Restoration. The city will use part of the funds to provide assistance to city operations and the local economy affected by COVID-19.

  • Transformation. The city will be outcome-oriented in the use of funds and will document progress made is specific and in strategic priority areas.

  • Fiscal Soundness. Because the funds are one-time in nature, the city will seek not to create recurring obligations using these funds.

  • Equity. All program and grant expenditures will undergo an equity review to ensure resources are equitably distributed throughout the community.

The staff is recommending that initial allocations be targeted at coronavirus response, mitigation, relief, and restoration efforts. Later the council could consider funding longer-term "transformative" initiatives to address such issues as affordable housing, workforce development, early childhood education and other underlying social and health conditions. 

These are the guidelines that the council must follow:

Spending Guidelines

Can be used for:  

  • Restoring local government revenue lost due to the pandemic, and government services affected by the loss of revenue.

  • Making up for the economic impact caused by COVID-19 by providing grants to small businesses, non-profits, households and tourism, hospitality and the arts.

  • Providing a pay supplement to local government workers performing essential work, or to provide grants to businesses with employees performing essential work.

  • Financing water, sewer and broadband projects.

  • Programs related to health, crime, housing, employment, and childhood education in low-income census tracts. 

 Cannot be used for:

  • Cannot be used to reduce the tax rate.

  • Cannot be used to delay a new tax or tax increase.

  • Cannot be deposited into pension funds.

Other Pandemic Relief

In addition to the $51.7 million the city will receive, the American Rescue Plan, Congress appropriated money for a variety of programs to assist businesses. Go to the COVID-19 Business Information page for more details. 

Low-income renters who are behind on their rent or utilities payments because of the pandemic may be eligible for financial assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Go to the ERAP page for full details about eligibility and how to apply.