The Las Cruces City Council had another round of extensive discussions with City staff during its Monday, July 12, 2021 Work Session about American Rescue Plan Act funds that Las Cruces has, and will, receive.
City staff presented additional in-depth information to City Council about proposed City projects or programs that could utilize American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The staff presentation and Council discussion were a follow-up to a June 14 Work Session. At that Work Session, the Council asked City staff for more details about how the funds could be utilized.
Monday’s Work Session focused on $14.4 million of the $24,759,826 the City will receive in ARPA funds from the U.S. Treasury Department. On May 19, the City received a $12,379,913 direct allocation in ARPA funds from the U.S. Treasury Department, through ARPA, for the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. The City will be provided a second tranche of ARPA funds, also for $12,379,913, in May 2022.
City staff presented options to City Council at Monday’s Work Session that could allocate $2 million for projects or programs that would support the City’s public health response to COVID-19; $6.9 million for projects and programs that could replace public sector revenue losses during the pandemic; $1 million for programs that would address negative economic impacts in the hospitality and tourism sector; $3.5 million for projects and programs to improve water and sewer infrastructure; and $1 million that could be used to provide “Premium Pay” that would be distributed to City employees who have worked to provide a continuity of operations for the City throughout the pandemic.
ARPA funds can be used by the City to help address economic fallout and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery. The ARPA allocations provide a substantial infusion of one-time financial resources to help the City turn the tide on the pandemic.
The funding is intended to be used for the following objectives, as defined in the Act:
- To support urgent COVID-19 response efforts to continue decreasing the spread of the virus and bring the pandemic under control.
- Replace lost public sector revenue to strengthen support for vital public services and help retain jobs.
- Support immediate economic stabilization for households and businesses.
- Address systemic public health and economic challenges that have been impacted because of the pandemic.
An August 9 City Council Work Session has been scheduled so City staff can present information to the Council on public input received by the City regarding $10.4 million of ARPA funds that are proposed to be used for community and economic development initiatives to address the negative economic impact of the pandemic and resulting closures. A public comment period for the $10.4 in ARPA funds begins next Monday, July 19, and will continue until noon July 30. Two public meetings will be conducted, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 700 N. Main St., at 2:30 p.m. July 28, and at 5:30 p.m. July 29.
From information received at both Work Sessions, the Council could be in a position to provide direction to City staff that would be used to develop a Resolution to designate how the ARPA funds will be distributed.