City Council Discusses Dwindling ARPA Funds

The City Council discussed the remaining American Rescue Plan Act Funding during Mondayás meeting. Based on the remaining funding, the city will not have enough ARPA funding to cover the full "wish list" proposed by the city administration. Pictured, from left, are City Council President Anthony Dolce, R-Ward II, Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund, R-At Large, and City Councilwoman Marie Carrubba, D-Ward IV, during Mondayás work session. P-J photo by Timothy Frudd

The City Council discussed the remaining American Rescue Plan Act funding balance during the first work session of the month on Monday night.

Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund, R-At Large, explained that the “grand total” of ARPA funding allocated by the city is $25,306,148.24.

Ecklund thanked Catherine Maycock, acting city comptroller and Jennifer Williams, city clerk, for accomplishing the task that she challenged them with this week to review every ARPA resolution passed by the City Council and create an updated spreadsheet that details the current allocated funding, expended funding and remaining funding.

Ecklund explained that Maycock has “basically been thrown into a position that she did not sign up for” and has had to spent a considerable amount of time “cleaning up a lot of things” for the city, especially with regard to the city’s ARPA funding.

“In light of that, she has done an awesome job of preparing this for us and laying out what has been appropriated and what has been expended and basically giving us an overview of what is left,” Ecklund said.

Based on the city’s $28,079,145 in awarded ARPA funding, Ecklund said the city currently has a balance of $2,772,996.76.

According to Ecklund, the “wish list” provided by the city administration is “impossible to meet” due to the roughly $4.85 million in estimated expenses for programs and purchases proposed by city department heads and Mayor Eddie Sundquist.

Ecklund said the City Council has some “serious things” to consider as it moves forward with the remaining ARPA funding.

“We have to prioritize, because we’re not going to be able to pay for all of that, so we have to determine what the priority is for the rest of the $2.7 million,” City Council President Anthony Dolce, R-Ward II, said. “That was just the wish list. If people don’t feel comfortable picking any of that and there’s something else that comes up or is out there that takes priority over it, then that’s what we need to do.”

Dolce explained that over the next few months, the City Council and the city administration will have to carefully determine how to prioritize the remaining projects and programs on the wish list.

Presenting the Finance Committee’s report to the full City Council, Ecklund said that the City Council will have to have additional discussions regarding the current status of the city’s “wish list,” determine whether or not the needs have changed, and how the City Council can move forward with the remaining funding.

“The last one I saw had an ambulance, had some funds located reserved for lost revenue, which we should because as you can see things don’t always come in at the the appropriated amount, and we also had some things on there that the mayor has clearly made public that he is wishing for, things such as a water park and other things,” she said. “We have some decisions to make with what is left.”

According to Ecklund, every category of ARPA funding is under the originally anticipated amount, with the exception of the Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods category. Ecklund explained that funds will have to be “moved” between categories since the Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods category is over by about $2 million.

Next month, the City Council is expected to vote on a resolution addressing an ARPA program that cost $296 more than originally approved by the council. According to Ecklund, the resolution in question was originally allocated $40,000.

Concluding Monday’s ARPA discussion, Dolce challenged the council that their “task” over the next few months will be to allocate the remaining ARPA funding.


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