City officials are still trying to determine just how they’ll be eligible to spend the $13.3 million that Owensboro is set to receive as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Because the regulations for how local funds are spent are currently subject to change, none of that money will be appropriated until the stipulations are finalized by the federal government.
Angela Waninger, Owensboro’s Director of Finance and Support Services, explained that it was “difficult to solidify a plan” with the 151-page document in an interim phase.
The funds can cover advanced costs that are incurred from March 3, 2021 to December 31, 2024. According to Waninger, funds can be expended through December 2026.
Waninger went over the four different categories of eligible use with commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting.
Public health and economic impacts
Addresses the impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, as well as aid to impacted industries, such as tourism, travel and hospitality.
It also includes behavioral healthcare needs, payroll/benefits for public health, public safety, and human services to the extent these personnel work on the COVID-19 response.
This category includes negative economic impacts for impacted industries that include tourism/travel/hospitality, rebuilding public sector capacity, small business support, and hardest-hit areas.
Applies to essential workers and can be used retroactively. In this category, funding can be provided directly or through grants to private employees to public health/safety staff and essential workers outside the public sector.
Essential workers that qualify can receive up to $13 an hour in addition to wages, not to exceed $25,000 per worker.
Includes government services to the extent of loss of revenue.
This is based on each government’s 2019 base year actual revenue. A project calendar determines which is higher — a three-year historical average or 4.1%. If actuals are lower than projected, you have revenue loss, Waninger noted.
Investments in infrastructure
Includes water, sewer and broadband internet projects.
Water projects generally align with those eligible for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Sewer projects generally align with those eligible for the Clean Water Revolving Fund. Broadband projects should deliver 100 Mbps upload and download speeds, and should be invested only in underserved areas.