How Fayetteville Will Use $40 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Funding
Fayetteville is trying to stretch the one-time funding it has received from the federal government, and Deputy City Manager Adam Lindsay has a plan: Use those restricted dollars to pay for city needs and free up unrestricted dollars for go after other federal grants.
Lindsay called the American Rescue Plan Act “unprecedented” during the Fayetteville City Council’s business session on Monday.
“The opportunities and the needs that we have are aligned in a way that we’ll probably never see again in our lifetime,” he said. “If we spend the money strategically.”
Fayetteville will receive approximately $40.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds in two installments: one in May 2021 and one in May 2022. It must allocate the money by December 2024 and spend it by December 2026.
It’s a tight deadline, especially if the city were to start projects with ARP funds. Instead, Lindsay suggests using federal dollars to fund projects the city has already identified or even begun. This way, the city can dedicate previously allocated funds to pay for federal grants.
“Two million can turn into $10 million,” Lindsay said.
The city council unanimously supported the implementation of this strategic plan for its ARP funds.
Currently, the city plans to allocate $15 million of its ARP funds as follows:
- $500,000 for business assistance loans
- $500,000 for trade corridor grants
- $1 million for childcare and childcare assistance
- $1 million for small business development grants
- $2 million for small business retention grants
- $4 million for an affordable housing trust fund
- $1 million for a community hub
- $1.3 million for renovations to the ground floor of City Hall
- $150,000 for the replacement and renovation of picnic shelters
- $650,000 for Rosemary Drive drainage improvements
- $2.75 million for Tryon Drive drainage improvements
- $150,000 for American Disabilities Act compliance issues
- $5 million for administrative initiatives
Lindsay added that the city is “easily” considering more than $150 million in projects.
One potential project that will cost millions of dollars is citywide flood mitigation. The city has commissioned several watershed studies to determine which areas need it the most and the best options to address it.
City staff on Monday requested $8.8 million to mitigate the effects of flooding in Locks Creek. However, this money only covers 25-year storm events (Hurricane Matthew was a 500-year storm and Hurricane Florence was a 1,000-year storm) and does not completely prevent flooding.
Mayor Mitch Colvin called the idea a “partial solution” that would still allow homes to be flooded.
Sheila Thomas-Abat, director of utilities, responded that any plan to deal with flooding at Locks Creek was “fighting nature” because it was in a flood plain. The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not designate Locks Creek a floodplain, but the city is submitting documents to change that designation.
Thomas-Abat added that if the area had been a registered floodplain, there would have been more restrictions on building homes there.
“It’s the most dangerous element,” Pro Tem Mayor Kathy Jensen said. “It always wins.”
In December, the city council allocated $150 million for infrastructure improvements to help alleviate flooding. City staff asked for $8.8 million on Monday, will ask for $12 million in a few months and plan to ask for even more next year.
City staff added that flood control in all of the city’s watersheds could cost around $500 million.
This means that residents will soon see a rate increase, although Thomas-Abat did not specify the amount.
“We don’t want to raise fees and we don’t want to raise taxes, but sometimes it’s necessary,” Councilman Larry Wright said.
Capital and technology improvement plans
Using funds currently available to the City, City staff also presented projects that may be feasible for the 2023-2027 fiscal year budgets.
Capital projects include:
- $22.7 million for a consolidated car rental facility; development of general aviation hangars; perimeter paving and replacement of fences; and rehabilitation of pavement and taxiway lighting at the airport.
- $3.6 million for a trade corridor revitalization program; a day resource center and an emergency shelter; and supporting infrastructure for the redevelopment area.
- $3.3 million for ADA compliance fixes; building maintenance; financial restructuring; feasibility study of the operations center; resurfacing of the parking lot and replacement of the Ramsey Street pumping station.
- $23.6 million for the Blounts Creek Trail; Cape Fear River Park; Cape Fear River Trail and Botanical Garden Extension; improvements to Mable C. Smith Park; Makerspace; Martin Luther King Jr. Park; McArthur Sports Field Complex; replacement and refurbishment of picnic shelters; repairs and refurbishment of playgrounds; Senior Center East and Sherwood Park Recreation Center.
- $550,000 for 911 dispatch consoles and temporary fire station #18.
- $48.75 million for Watershed Studies, Drainage Assistance Program, Spot Repair Program and Easement Project Management.
- $1.1 million for Grove Street facility improvements, shelters and benches, sidewalks, and ADA accessibility.
- $46.1 million for the extension of Blanton Road; bridge preservation program; College Lakes Dam; dam safety and preservation program; downtown streetscape; reconstruction of Hinsdale Road; intersection improvements; Mirror Lake Drive Dam; multipurpose routes; municipal agreements with the North Carolina Department of Transportation; pavement preservation program; improvement of sidewalks and street lighting.
Technology projects include:
- $6.8 million for security and infrastructure, including replacement of public safety cameras.
- $483,000 for business intelligence and data analysis.
- $4.9 million for software services, including body camera upgrades, Taser replacements, rapid DNA technology and a drone.
- $175,000 for the city’s wireless expansion project.
However, there is still $151.2 million in projects that city staff have not included in their capital and technology improvement plans for the next five years. These include public safety facilities; improvements to streets, sidewalks and pathways; an indoor aquatic center; the second phase of City Hall renovations; and a cycling and derby park.
Councilman Antonio Jones said he would also like to add a green space in the Murchison Road corridor near Shaw Road to the list of potential projects.
Overall, the city will be able to finance many projects, thanks to Lindsay’s strategy with ARP funds. Overall, Lindsay’s strategy allows the city to pay for all projects with ARP funds.
“We multiply the benefits for our citizens if we use these funds to cover the costs of the projects we have identified as eligible and use the potential matching of the money we have freed up,” said Kelly Olivera, Director of Budget and of the evaluation. .
Journalist Ivey Schofield can be reached at [email protected]