Farragut will be receiving a little more than $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen received more clarity during a Thursday, Nov. 11, workshop where the monies can and will likely be spent.
Town administrator David Smoak reported the $7.055 million in funding — Farragut’s portion from a nation-wide $350 billion Congressional appropriation approved in March 2021 — must only be used in the following categories: responding to health concerns raised by the pandemic; responding to negative economic impact of the pandemic; services to disproportional impacted communities; providing premium pay to essential workers; improving water, sewer and broadband infrastructure; replacing revenues lost by local governments due to the pandemic; and administrative costs.
The Town received half of the funding, $3,527,626, about two weeks ago and the second half will be disbursed next year, Smoak said.
“Staff has met several times over the past few months to identify potential projects that may qualify to be used with ARPA funds,” Smoak’s report stated. “As of now, the Federal government has issued an interim final rule to address how these funds may be used, but until the Final Rule is published, sometime in the next few months, some projects may be on hold until further guidance can be received.”
Initially, staff has identified the following projects that meet federal criteria, as it is currently understood: funding the Town staff vaccine incentive program; offering essential personnel pay (bonuses) for employees who worked during the pandemic; funding stormwater parking facilities (permeable pavers) in McFee Park; Town stormwater infrastructure repair and replacement; fiber optic connectivity; and Town Hall improvements.
Later during its regular meeting, BOMA approved adding the ARPA Fund into the already established Town Budget.
Initial ARPA appropriations approved are $110,200 for the personnel pay bonuses; $10,200 for Town staff vaccine incentive program; and $1.5 million for parking at McFee Park.
In a BOMA report regarding personnel premium pay, Smoak stated the proposed premium “pay would compensate essential full-time personnel $100 a month and part time personnel $50 a month for those months they provided service to the community from April 2020 to October 2021. This payment would be a one-time payment and would not impact employee’s regular rates of pay moving forward into the fiscal year.”