FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City Seeks Community Input on Use of American Rescue Plan Act Funds
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The City of Morgantown will receive $11,243,509 in American Rescue Plan Act funds over the next two years and, beginning August 1, it is asking for public input on how these funds should be used.
The funding comes from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) signed by President Joseph R. Biden on March 11. The Act established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. Included in that fund is $360 billion of one-time aid directly allocated to states, counties, and municipalities.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city and these funds will make a significant difference in our community,” said Kim Haws, Morgantown city manager. “We are undertaking a large community engagement campaign and I’m sure that we will get some great feedback which will allow us to develop a very robust and effective plan for these funds. I encourage all of our community members to take part in this process one way or another. We want to hear from you.”
From August 1-21, an online survey will be available to gather public input. Before the closure of the public survey, a public meeting will be held on August 18 to discuss preliminary project or program ideas. After the survey period and initial public meeting, a team of city staff and council members, led by City Manager Kim Haws, will review, and score all project and program ideas. The second public meeting will be held on Sept. 1 with the intent of presenting the draft action plan. Any comments received during the second public meeting will be taken into consideration, the draft action plan revised as necessary, and presented to City Council for approval. Both public meetings will be held at 7 p.m. at the Marilla Center located at 799 E Brockway Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26501. Residents, businesses, and community organizations are encouraged to participate in the planning process by taking the online survey and/or attending a public meeting.
In June, the city received the first of two ARPA installments in the amount of $5,621,754.50. A second installment is anticipated in the same amount in the Spring/Summer of 2022. The city has until December 31, 2024, to obligate the funds and December 31, 2026, to spend the funds.
The U.S. Treasury Department has limited the use of ARPA funds to the following areas:
- To respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality
- To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers
- For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency
- To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
City administration encourages the community to focus on recovery goals during the community engagement process. The intended outcome is to determine what are the goals that citizens would like to accomplish with this funding.
“What we are asking the public to contribute is what goals they would like to see accomplished,” said Haws. “We want to be sure we are staying within the bounds laid out by the federal government for the use the funds, but that we are also focusing on programs and projects that are priorities for our residents and businesses.”
For more information on the city’s ARPA Action Plan and program/project selection process, visit morgantownwv.gov/ARPA. Take the online survey by visiting bit.ly/COMARPA.