Committee discusses trio of files aimed at transparency, inclusion for ARPA funding
During today’s meeting of the Finance and Personnel Committee, the committee discussed three files dealing with current and past federal stimulus funding aimed at providing relief for citizens during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The introductions of these files were co-led by Common Council President Cavalier Johnson and Finance and Personnel Committee Chair Alderman Michael J. Murphy.
The first file (#201571) is a resolution directing the Department of Administration – Budget and Management Division to create a transparent and inclusive plan for the allocation of funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The resolution details a minimum of five steps that shall be included as part of this process:
- Conducting a public survey to identify the community’s priorities for ARPA allocations.
- The Department of Administration – Office of Equity and Inclusion establishing specific and measurable goals related to the allocation of funds.
- Presenting a proposed budget for allocating and expending the ARPA award.
- Soliciting comments from the public following presentation of the proposed ARPA budget.
- Engaging in hearings before the Finance and Personnel Committee to finalize the ARPA allocation plan.
File #201571, which was co-sponsored by a majority of Council members, was held during the committee meeting to allow for the federal guidelines around ARPA spending to be released.
A second file (#201615) was adopted during the committee meeting, and establishes the creation of a public dashboard detailing allocation and expenditure of funds received through the ARPA. Common Council President Cavalier Johnson looks forward to the impact these resolutions can make. “I want to thank my colleagues for broadly supporting these files and for making sure the Common Council leads the way on how these funds are allocated,” he said. “As we remain in close contact with the administration, these resolutions will ensure that funding allocations are strategic, equitable, transparent to the public, and make the greatest impact possible.”
Committee chair Alderman Michael J. Murphy believes this resolution is an important part of the process when considering how to allocate forthcoming ARPA dollars. “There are lessons we can learn from how the CARES Act money was spent that can help us improve upon the process this time around,” states Alderman Murphy. “As many people have said, the American Rescue Plan Act funding represents an immense opportunity for us to make a profound impact on our city, and examining the past is one way we can enhance the process in the future.”
Files #201600 and #201615 will be before the full Common Council for adoption at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 13. File #201571 will return to the Finance and Personnel Committee at a future meeting.