Oakdale City Council members held a special meeting Monday, Sept. 13 to discuss how the city plans to distribute the $5.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds funneling into the city’s coffers for the next two fiscal years.
The $350 billion plan is an integral part of the federal government’s attempt to buoy struggling states and their counties as the ripple effect of the pandemic continues to disrupt lives and livelihoods.
According to the US Treasury, ARPA funds are intended to help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery.
The infusion of short-term federal funds:
· Support urgent COVID-19 response efforts to continue to decrease spread of the virus and bring the pandemic under control
· Replace lost revenue for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to strengthen support for vital public services and help retain jobs
· Support immediate economic stabilization for households and businesses
· Address systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the inequal impact of the pandemic
ARPA provides substantial flexibility for each government to meet local needs — including support for households, small businesses, impacted industries, essential workers, and the communities hardest hit by the crisis. These funds can also be used to make necessary investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer provided a Power Point presentation to city council members, detailing potential funding allocations for the federal infusion, while audience members provided additional ideas, in the form of grants for stray animal care, drug rehabilitation projects, and artificial turf ideas to conserve water.
At the forefront of the discussion were several big ticket items earmarked by the city for possible funding, which included:
· Explore creation of a Business Improvement District (BID)
· Attract new retailers to Oakdale that will bring more retail sales tax revenue to the community
· Create shovel-ready parcels for retail and business development in the East F Street Specific Plan, Crane Crossing Specific Plan, and future Sierra Pointe Specific Plan
· Reduce dependence on ground water by developing plans to utilize surface water from OID
Whitemyer reminded councilmembers that this list was preliminary and there was room for more discussion as planning continues, however, any projects using ARPA funds must be completed by the end of the two-year funding cycle in order to be eligible.
On another front, Oakdale city planners invite the community to weigh in on the city’s Downtown Tree Lighting Plan, the Third Avenue Rehabilitation, and the Downtown Concept plan at a special meeting set for Wednesday, Sept. 22 at the City Council Chambers starting at 6 p.m.
For more information, call City Hall at 209-845-3571.