COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Columbia City Council will meet on Monday at 7 p.m. to amend the fiscal year 2024 annual budget to appropriate the $25.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The city received these funds in September to address the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Upon approval of the city, the appropriation on Monday will allow for all ARPA contracts to be paid.
The city approved a resolution for staff to negotiate agreements for the Council to consider which organizations to put the ARPA funds toward. The funds are designated to organizations in relation to the city's five priority areas. The five priority areas were determined after a city-wide survey in June and August 2022 in which members of the community designated the priority areas.
The five priority areas identified by the community:
- Access to services
- Affordable housing
- Mental health access
- Workforce development/support
According to the survey, 1,338 people selected Health and Mental Health Services as a priority area and 1,142 people selected Investments in Affordable Housing. The survey also asked community members about their biggest challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Nearly 1,200 of the respondents selected Financial-Reduction in Income/Loss of Employment.
The first half of the funding will be allocated toward homelessness, community violence, behavioral crisis care mental health services and workforce development. The second half will be designated to the priority areas identified by the community.
If approved by the city, the ordinance will allow the funds to be appropriated to the various contracts that will come in the future. According to the city, appropriating the funding and creating a budget for the contracts now will allow the staff to fund the organizations and streamline the process more efficiently.