Emergent needs addressed in first round of ARPA allocations
Economic stabilization topped the list of emergent funding needs the Pierce County Council tackled Tuesday with its first round of American Rescue Plan Act funding allocations.
In a unanimous vote Council allocated an initial $50.5 million in federal funds to help the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is imperative for businesses and the community to understand we are sympathetic with the situation people are in,” said Council Vice Chair Dave Morell. “As a Council we are doing our best to be good stewards of these federal funds, and maximizing their impact to come out of this pandemic better than we went in to it.”
Pierce County expects to receive nearly $175 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for use over the next four years. The first half – roughly $88 million – is expected to be delivered to the county in early May.
The first round of allocation adopted Tuesday included adding another $4 million to the Rollback Relief Grant Program. Council approved the program earlier this month, dedicating an initial $4 million from the general fund to support small, local businesses with grants up to $10,000. The total amount now available through the program is $8 million.
Additional funding allocations approved by Council included:
$5 million to support entrepreneurship and technical assistance grants with a focus on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
$2.4 million for housing and homelessness.
$2 million to support local food banks and pantries.
$1.5 million for a summer jobs program to return people to work.
$1.5 million for summer youth support programs.
Council also dedicated $3 million to Pierce County’s court system to help address a backlog of cases due to the pandemic. To see the full list of funding allocations view Ordinance 2021-32 online.
Roughly $37 million remains to be allocated from the county’s first round of ARPA funding. In the coming weeks Council will begin review of mid- and long-term needs facing the county with a focus on allocating funding to make sustainable improvements.
The approved ordinance now goes to Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier for signature.
Once the county receives the federal funding, work will begin to get the money into the community as quickly as possible. More information will be shared as programs are up and running and applications available.