The Las Cruces City Council discussed, brainstormed, and offered direction to City staff regarding a total of $24,759,826 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the City has and will receive.
City Council’s comments and direction came during a Work Session, conducted through video conference, on Monday, June 14, 2021.
From the discussions and brainstorming, City Council Work sessions to provide more details and clarification about ARPA funding, and further discussions by City Council and the public about how ARPA funding is used will be scheduled in July and August. Resolutions developed by City staff to insert ARPA funding into the City budget will be presented at future City Council meetings following the work sessions.
The City received an initial $12,379,913 allocation from the U.S. Treasury, through APRA, on May 19, 2021, for the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. A second disbursement of funds of $12,379,913 is expected in May 2022. All costs related to ARPA funds must be incurred by Dec.31, 2024.
The funds have provided a substantial infusion of resources to help the City turn the tide on the pandemic, address economic fallout, and to lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery. The City has never received this type of funding.
City staff has researched options for the use of the funds and presented those to City Council during the Work Session.
The ARPA funds can be used for the following funding categories:
- To support public health response.
- To replace public sector revenue losses.
- To address negative economic impacts.
- For water and sewer infrastructure improvements.
- To make broadband infrastructure improvements.
- For premium pay for public employees.
Based on the funding objectives, City staff offered the following funding recommendations at Monday’s Council Work Session:
- $2 million to support public health response. That amount of funding would be used for public safety programs.
- $6.9 million to replace public sector revenue loss, based on a prescribed calculation from the U.S. Treasury in the interim final rule. The funding would be used for capital projects. Recommended projects include $428,030 for an aquatic competition pool; $432,257 for construction of the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley and two dog parks; $2,186,924 for construction of the East Mesa Recreation Facility; $2,330,915 for a Transit Maintenance Facility; $1,400,511 for trails construction; and $134,000 for Unidad Park.
- $11.4 million to address negative economic impacts. $1 million would be for tourism and hospitality programs and initiatives through Visit Las Cruces. $10.4 million would be used for community and economic development initiatives. These initiatives may include the Casa de Peregrinos food pantry/rescue facility, the Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program, community programs and economic development initiatives to include business incentives, capital grants, business incubator, technical assistance, microlending, and other programs.
- $3.5 million to improve water and sewer infrastructure. $2.2 million would be used for improvements on Calle Encanto and Calle del Sol. Also, $1.3 million would be used for the Sewer Connection Incentive Program.
- $1 million for premium pay for essential workers. Premium pay may be used for payroll and benefit expenses for employees to the extent that their services are devoted to mitigating or responding to the COVID public health emergency. The premium pay should be prioritized for lower income workers. Premium pay may not exceed 150 percent average annual wage/occupation. Premium pay would require specific justification for going above that level.