City Council discusses how to spend $2.5 million in unused ARPA funds

Correction: The Susanville City Council meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 6. Lassennews.com regrets the error.

In March 2021, as the nation battled the COVID-19 pandemic, President Joe Biden and Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion act that provided $350 billion in funding for state and local governments to help offset the effects of the pandemic.

The city of Susanville received approximately $3.5 million in ARPA funds, and to date it has only spent about $1 million, so about $2.5 million remains.

The Susanville City Council will discuss how to spend that remaining funding at its Wednesday, Dec. 6 meeting in the City Council Chambers, 66 N. Lassen St.

According to the Government Finance Officers Association, “The funding provided under ARPA provides a unique opportunity for state and local governments to make strategic investments in long-lived assets, rebuild reserves to enhance financial stability and cover temporary operating shortfalls until economic conditions and operations normalize.”

The funding was intended as “revenue replacement 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 fiscal year prior to the emergency; COVID-19 expenditures or negative economic impacts of COVID-19, including assistance to small businesses, households and hard-hit industries and economic recovery; premium pay for essential workers; investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

Funding must be obligated by the end of calendar year 2024 and expended by the end of calendar year 2026.”

According to the staff report included with the agenda, “The city has approximately $2.5 million in ARPA funds remaining. At previous council meetings the city council discussed apportioning the funds to the following categories:

  • $1 million for economic development as an external investment. For example, improving Main Street building facades.
  • $500,000 for economic development as an internal investment. For example, hiring an outside firm to provide professional development training to city staff and recommend improvements to development processes.
    • $500,000 for marketing Susanville.
  • $500,000 for city facility repairs and improvements.

“Input has been requested from the public as well as city staff and councilmembers. With council direction, staff will compile a list of various projects and rank them. A recommended project list will be provided at the Jan. 17, 2024 City Council meeting.”

Other items on the agenda
The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. with closed session. Two items are under consideration — negotiations for the purchase of the Ramsey Ditch and the appointment of a city administrator.

The council convenes in open session at 5 p.m. Items on the agenda include Business from the Floor; the consent calendar (minutes of the Nov. 15 meeting, vendor and payroll warrants, consideration of Resolution No. 23-6258 approving a contract with Express Evaluations); New Business (ARPA funds, Resolution No. 23-6257 accepting city’s audited financial statements, discussion regarding public safety chief position, Resolution No. 23-6257 authorizing the purchase of cinders, and Resolution No. 236280 adopting the city’s Social Media Policy.

The council’s next meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 2023.

Click here to see the agenda.