How can Redding spend his $2.7 million in COVID relief funds?

REDDING — Plans for how to spend nearly $2.7 million in federal pandemic relief money are beginning to take shape in Redding as members of a newly formed task force seek input on how to allocate the funds.

Support for social services, public safety, and resident relief are among the top priorities for American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“We are looking at urgent needs and these are mostly social services related and we want these to be taken care of hopefully in March,” first coach Julia Pemberton said. “Beyond that, I’m sure we will look at capital projects.”

The task force is finalizing a request ahead of its Thursday meeting where residents, city employees and local nonprofits can submit ideas for how the money could be spent.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, known as ARPA, the city is set to receive nearly $2.7 million in two installments to be used by the end of 2026 to support an array of designated eligible projects. under a final set of rules and guidelines issued by the US Treasury Department earlier this year.

“Six months from now, I’d like to think we have a pretty good idea of ​​what the priority projects are,” Pemberton said during a task force meeting last month.

As Pemberton explained last month, the guidelines for spending federal dollars include spending to maintain vital public services amid revenue declines during the pandemic.

Using a Treasury Department formula, the city’s chief financial officer estimated Redding’s lost revenue during the pandemic at about $1.74 million — a sum that can be repaid with ARPA money. to fund “government services, generally,” Pemberton said.

The money can also be earmarked for hiring and augmenting essential city workers, providing direct support to families and businesses impacted by the public health emergency, and investing in water, city ​​sewers and broadband infrastructure, in accordance with ARPA guidelines,

Using those metrics, Pemberton outlined potential expenses, including fully funding a seniors’ center and a social services coordinator, as well as providing $100,000 in local COVID-19 relief to residents in use for rental and mortgage assistance needed as a result of the pandemic.

Other areas of interest could include supporting an analysis of the space and needs of the Redding Community Center while exploring air quality and ventilation improvements to the building and hotel of town.

In the public safety category, Pemberton said, ARPA funds could be used to support a fire suppression project at Lonetown Marsh or to fund an upgrade to firefighter and police dispatch software. city ​​police.

“I know there are a lot of people who have different ideas about how best to use this money or not to use it,” task force member Christopher Parkin said last month. “So I think one of the goals of this group should be…to establish a framework and a rubric of how we’re going to review and evaluate all kinds of projects and make recommendations.”

According to Pemberton, the plan is for the task force and the city to consider the ideas in “slices”; where the most critical items would be taken care of first.

After identifying viable funding avenues, the eight-member task force submits them for approval by the Board of Selectmen before they are finally validated by a Town Meeting vote or a referendum, according to Pemberton.

Trevor Ballantyne is a reporter for the News-Times. Email him at [email protected]

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