COVID-19: Who Will QC Governments "Rescue" with ARPA Funds?
Cities and counties are currently deciding how to spend millions of dollars in federal coronavirus recovery funds. But some local businesses and nonprofits are worried about not receiving any of that money.
Michelle O'Neill reports Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has been encouraging small businesses and others to ask their city and county elected officials to send some of it their way.
Moline US Representative Cheri Bustos recently visited Ms. BriMani's Hair and Beauty Supply in downtown Rock Island, and talked with owner, Nicole Watson-Lam, saying that COVID-19 rescue funds should be available to her through the city.
A recent Associated Press review found local governments all over the country have been spending ARPA funds on projects that are not related to COVID-19. ARPA stands for the American Rescue Plan Act signed by the president more than a year ago.
Owners of Bayside Bistro in Davenport, LaTisha and Darryl Howlett, have also not received financial assistance to help their restaurants recover from the pandemic. They also opened a second location in Rock Island.
The Quad Cities River Bandits have suffered several years of setbacks. Owner Dave Heller says the 2019 flood, contraction in Minor League Baseball, and the pandemic caused huge losses with little or no help from Davenport which owns Modern Woodmen Park.
The federal government has a complicated set of rules about how the money may be spent in four areas:
- Replacing lost revenue,
- Responding to the public health emergency and its economic impact,
- Providing premium pay to essential workers,
- And investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
How local governments interpret the rules remains to be seen.
Most city councils and county boards in the Quad Cities have not yet voted to approve final ARPA spending proposals, which must be reported to the federal government.
The funds must be spent by the end of 2024.