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Akron, Ohio

City of Akron Passes Legislation Allowing Dispersal of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt
Published: 10-19-2021

Akron, Ohio, October 19, 2021 — Yesterday, Akron City Council passed legislation authorizing the City to invest federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in the Akron community. Countrywide, ARPA is delivering $350 billion to eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, strengthen the economy and address public health needs exacerbated by the pandemic. As part of that disbursement, the City of Akron is receiving approximately $145 million over two years.  The federal government has issued specific guidelines for how the funds can be spent to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and help communities, like Akron, bounce back and recover equitably. All funds will be spent in accordance with those guidelines over the next five years, with robust reporting and ongoing community engagement.  Visit www.akronohio.gov/ARPA for more information. 

“Like every city across the country, COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our people, our businesses and our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Horrigan. “With this infusion of federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, we have a unique opportunity to start to address some longstanding challenges that have only been heightened by the pandemic.  It is important to understand that these funds are not a cure-all, and have been designated by the federal government for specific uses.  However, these rescue funds will enable us to uplift residents in need, stabilize city services, curb violent crime, and strengthen the foundation of our community. We have been working for the last six months to prepare to utilize these federal funds in a way that is transparent, well-organized, and impactful.  I want to thank City Council for their thoughtful deliberation and ultimate passage of the legislation, which will allow us to get this money out to the community in an efficient way, and start investing in our neighborhoods now.  The primary feedback we’ve gotten from our residents is that they want us to act with urgency, particularly when it comes to curbing violence in our neighborhoods, and we intend to do just that.  Now is the time to put this money to work for the people of Akron.”

By passing the appropriating legislation, Akron City Council put the funds into the City’s financial pipeline.  Once an operating budget amendment is approved in the next few weeks to reflect these new funds, programs can be launched and resources can be invested where they are needed most. This funding is heavily regulated by the federal government, with eligible uses that include responding to negative economic impacts, supporting the public health response, investing in certain infrastructure and stabilizing the City budget. The funds must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024 and be spent by Dec. 31, 2026. Half of that funding has already been received and the other half will be dispersed from the federal government to cities next spring.

The City has partnered with Guidehouse, a leading global provider of consulting services, to help with project management and implementation, ongoing monitoring and tracking of project progress, and community engagement. They will also provide expert professional advice so that the City’s ARPA programs are structured appropriately, no funds are returned, and the City can successfully pass any state or federal audits. 

Mayor Horrigan has proposed six key areas of investment as well as some initial project ideas for the ARPA funds. These main categories, and some examples of prospective programs and projects are available at www.akronohio.gov/ARPA

There will be multiple opportunities for community engagement throughout this process. On October 28, 2021 there will be two virtual public informational sessions where citizens can learn more about the funding and initial plans. To learn more and to register for one of those sessions, please visit www.akronohio.gov/ARPA. Residents can also attend one of ten ward meetings where ARPA uses and processes will be discussed and citizen feedback will be collected.  Dates and locations of ward meetings are available at www.akroncitycouncil.org or by contacting the Clerk’s Office at (330) 375-2256. 

A comprehensive list of ARPA resources and opportunities will be maintained online at www.akronohio.gov/ARPA.  From this page, community members can submit ideas for proposed projects, and will be able to view a dashboard with detailed information about Akron’s ARPA spending.  Finally, this website will soon allow community organizations (with active non-profit status) to submit applications for funding, within specified grant programs, and allow citizens to learn about how they can access ARPA-funded programming, services or assistance programs. Announcements will be made as funds are made available and applications go live

“This is just the beginning of the process,” Council President Margo Sommerville said. “We know that many segments of our community are hurting.  These funds will be used to enhance safety, health and infrastructure, and improve the overall wellbeing of our city as we recover from this pandemic.  I encourage to citizens actively engage in the process.   Submit your ideas online or share your priorities in the City Council hosted series of informational and listening sessions happening across the city.  Now is the time to share your priorities and help us understand how the pandemic has impacted your neighborhood.  We look forward to working collaboratively with our residents and community organizations to invest these dollars in meaningful ways, and ensure that special attention is given to those neighborhoods with the greatest need.”

For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary & Senior Strategic Counsel
Phone: 330-375-2754
E-mail: [email protected]

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