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How Iowa City residents can help decide how city spends American Rescue Plan funding

Iowa City

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) -- The City of Iowa City is seeking community input on how to spend $18.3 million awarded to the city through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Johnson County has a similar survey for all county residents to fill out to help decide how to spend the $29.3 million ARPA funds allocated to the county.

President Biden signed the ARPA in March, which established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which provides resources to state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to support COVID-19 response efforts, such as:

  • Responding to the pandemic’s public health and economic impacts on families and households, the workforce, businesses, and non-profits.
  • Providing premium pay to eligible public sector essential workers or grants to employers with eligible essential workers.
  • Replacing lost public sector revenue and restoring government service levels.
  • Investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

Of the $18.3 million allocated, half will be received in the coming months, and the remaining balance will be received 12 months later. The City has flexibility on how to spend the funds within the four categories mentioned above. 

In order to best allocate the funds, the City has created a survey for residents to fill out to provide feedback on how they think the funds should be allocated. The survey is the first step of a larger effort to gather community feedbacks. City Council and City staff will work with residents, businesses, non-profits, and other community stakeholders to help determine allocations.

A coalition of 15 community groups led by the Iowa City Catholic Worker House want the money to be used on an Excluded Workers Fund; benefitting low-income and immigrant families. The groups feel immigrants who worked in high-risk, low-paying jobs through the pandemic (if they weren't laid off) need a lift.

The Iowa Freedom Riders, the Iowa City Mutual Aid Collective and SEIU Local 199 (the union representing University of Iowa Health Care staff) are some of the groups who've signed on to this plan. The plan was presented to the Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission last week, which voted 9-0 to recommend the plan to the City Council.

For more information about the funds and the feedback process, click here.

Trevor Oates

Executive Producer

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