The City of York’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) team has been diligently working on its allocation process for the $35.3 million ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) awarded to the City of York in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts.
“We are excited to share part of the allocation process for the ARPA funds and are confident that these investments will have a significant positive impact on the City of York,” said Acting Business Administrator Kim Robertson. “We look forward to continuing to work toward building a stronger and more resilient City of York”.
The City’s ARPA team is currently focusing on:
- Identifying projects and programs that will aid in financially stabilizing the City and provide eligible public health and safety services to its residents.
- Creating eligibility and compliance reviews for proposed projects, while also establishing internal controls and protocols to ensure ongoing compliance with the Treasury’s rules which dictate appropriate uses of the funding.
The team is mindful of the City’s economic needs and the significance of this once in a lifetime funding opportunity. The City has prioritized its internal list of projects in order to allocate funds to areas that will have the most positive long-term impact on the community. The team is compiling a draft spending plan, which includes a variety of projects and programs from various public health and safety initiatives to investments in affordable housing programs, nonprofits and small businesses, broadband infrastructure, and City parks. Below are some brief highlights for a few of the planned projects and programs:
YoCo Fiber: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the impact of inequitable access to broadband internet, with more students and employees pivoting to work from home and more residents relying on the internet to access critical services, such as health care. This project will create an urban wireless network which will provide basic, free internet access covering the York metropolitan area. Broadband is crucial infrastructure for education, telehealth, business, and our residents’ general quality of life.
Public Health & Safety Programs: The pandemic heightened the need for emergency services, particularly amongst those most vulnerable. Examples of public safety programs under allocation review include the Group Violence Initiative program, the Substance Abuse Services Program, and a Mental Health Crisis Service. These projects are critical to the safety and well-being of all York residents as well as the long-term health and vitality of our community.
Penn Market Renovations: The Penn Market needs repairs to keep it functioning as a food hub connecting families with access to food and locally grown produce while also supporting local small businesses. Physical improvements will allow for the attraction of additional vendors, which will provide opportunities for business startups and economic growth, as well as provide additional healthy eating options to our most vulnerable community members. Furthermore, the addition of a community wellness space with the Market House will provide educational activities, community space and other services needed to maintain and improve public health.
As the spending plan moves forward, the City will provide a copy of the plan on its website and launch a public dashboard to provide regular updates on the funding status for each project and program.
“ARPA funding is a once-in-a-generation investment that will be used to help bring to fruition identified priorities. The ARPA public dashboard will serve as a tool to keep the public informed on how and where these dollars are being used. We look forward to sharing the outcomes resulting from our investments,” said Mayor Michael Helfrich.
“We are committed to being transparent and accountable with how these funds are spent and what opportunities are available within our community. The City of York continuously seeks diverse feedback from its residents and stakeholders with implementation of ARPA funds being left to qualified professionals,” said Council President Walker.
The team anticipates issuing information regarding programs that may be made available to certain community members before the end of the year. Information about the draft plan will be made public on the City’s website, which will also house additional information and updates regarding the City’s ARPA SLFRF program.