FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
At its July 25 meeting, City Council allocated more than $31 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars to fund transformative community projects for Springfield.
The City received about $40 million in recovery aid from the federal government. Funds must be obligated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. The council also set aside $7 million for homeless/housing projects that will be recommended by the City Council ARPA Review Committee at a later date. The committee anticipates additional meetings and discussions/recommendations for City Council’s formal approval in the upcoming month.
Before the vote, Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Simpson thanked the ARPA Review Committee and City staff for their work, along with the organizations that submitted funding requests.
“We were tasked with focusing on projects that were transformative, where we could leverage funding to make as big of an impact as possible and address our community’s greatest needs,” Simpson said. “I think we’ve come up with a list of projects that will achieve that.”
The City’s ARPA Review Committee, comprised of Simpson, councilmen Andy Lear and Abe McGull and Councilwoman Heather Hardinger reviewed more than 50 funding requests totaling more than $210 million.
Renew Jordan Creek (stormwater project): $500,000
Cooper/Killian Parks projects: $7.3M
Art Museum Education wing: $3M
Ozark Greenways Chadwick Flyer Trail: $3M
Historic City Hall renovation: $4M
City-wide Housing Study: $500,000
MSU request for Grand Street underpass: $750,000
Restore SGF project: $1M
Boys & Girls Clubs Foster/Adopt/Connect Teen Center: $2M
Housing/homeless projects set-aside $7M
(Additional to $5.3 million in CDBG-ARPA Funds)
Family Connects program: $650,000
Discovery Center: $50,000
Ozark Empire Fair Youth Ag Ed Center: $250,000
Burrell 24/7 Mental Health Hotline: $100,000
Library facilities projects: $500,000
OTC airframe and power plant maintenance facility: $750,000
Six of the above-listed projects involve state-matching funds. Also, the total dollar amount available for homeless/housing will be approximately $12.3 million, when combined with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) ARPA funds.
ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal aid package passed by Congress in March 2021 to provide financial aid to families, governments, businesses, schools, nonprofits and others impacted by the pandemic. Of that $1.9 trillion, $350 billion is going to state and local governments as part of the Fiscal Recovery Fund.
Initial allocations for pandemic response, employee retention
City Council at its Aug. 23, 2021 meeting allocated $8 million to support the Springfield-Greene County Health Department for continuing COVID-19 critical services, as recommended by the ARPA Review Committee. The committee is now recommending to amend the funds to be set aside for potential COVID-19 response to $3,026,290. This funding allocation will remain for COVID-19 pandemic utilization unless/until these funds are reallocated by City Council for other ARPA projects, as funds become available.
On Jan. 24, 2022, the council approved the use of ARPA dollars for retention pay for all full-time Fire Department, Police Department and Health Department staff.
A community survey was conducted last fall to determine funding priorities for the ARPA funds.
The four-page questionnaire was mailed on Sept. 27, 2021 to 5,000 randomly selected households living within the city limits of Springfield. Results were based on 1,438 completed questionnaires (1,237 mail and 201 online). Overall findings have a +/- 2.6% of error (95% confidence interval).
The funding categories ranked in order of importance are:
- Public safety and crime prevention (55%)
- Homeless and housing services (40%)
- Community health and wellness (37%)
- Premium pay for essential workers (36%)
- Stabilizing and revitalizing neighborhoods (29%)
- Quality of Life (29%)
- Economic recovery and growth (24%)
- Public facility preservation and enhancement (22%).
Cities can use ARPA funds to:
- Respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts;
- Provide premium pay to eligible workers;
- For the provision of governmental services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to COVID-19; and
- Invest in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
Cities cannot use ARPA funds to:
- Offset a reduction in taxes;
- For deposits into pension funds;
- To fund debt service;
- To fund legal settlements or judgments;
- For deposits into rainy-day funds or financial reserves.
For more information, videos and materials, visit springfieldmo.gov/arpa. Media requests are directed to Cora Scott, 417-380-3352, or [email protected].