LAKE STEVENS, Wash., July 23, 2021 – The City of Lake Stevens is set to receive $9.466 million in federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The city council unanimously passed a motion to allow the mayor to disperse the ARPA funding as recommended during their meeting on July 13, though future changes can be made to the allocations.
There are four recommended allocations under ‘Action Items E’ for the ARPA funds. These were decided on after meetings between management staff, Mayor Brett Gailey, Council President Kim Daughtry and City Administrator Gene Brazel. As ARPA is a follow-up to the CARES Act, the city wanted to focus the funding in different areas.
“In the prior distribution of funds, the city really focused on small business grants, helping nonprofit agencies, as well as getting our staff the proper protective equipment that they needed, and looking at hazard pay for essential public workers and any COVID-related work that we’ve done,” Community Development Director Russell Wright said during the meeting. “As we’ve really looked to do business-related funding and some other grant funding in the last go-around, we thought we would look at some different avenues this time.”
What will the Lake Stevens ARPA money be used for?
The first recommended allocation is to fund staff positions in the city. The first of these is a part-time, limited contract consultant position to help manage and coordinate the ARPA funds. The second is to cover two custodial positions for the Public Works Department. The last is to reclassify and fund an HR Technician for the city from part-time to full-time. Full details on these can be found under ‘Actions Items F American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funded Positions’ in the council agenda.
The second recommended allocation is for capital investments and planning for infrastructure improvements. This currently includes water, sewer, stormwater and broadband communications in several areas of Lake Stevens.
The third allocation is for software upgrades, particularly to improve and promote remote working. Wright gave an example of a system to allow for scheduling via computer for ease of access for citizens while also cutting down on staff times. He mentioned that other software upgrades would be presented to the city council at a later date.
The final allocation is to provide additional assistance to nonprofit organizations—specifically the food bank.
A breakdown of fund distribution will be presented in a future budget amendment, according to Financial Director Barb Stevens. After a question from Councilmember Daughtry, Stevens stated that changes to fund allocation can also be done through a budget amendment. This was also verified by City Attorney Greg Rubstello.
“We’re going to be doing improvements that include these… ‘Hartford/Machias area, 91st/24th, Main Street improvements, Lake outfall, etc,’” Stevens said. “So we’re not just confining ourselves just to these five infrastructure projects.”
So the ARPA funds don’t necessarily have to be allocated as currently recommended. It can be used for any of the following:
- Compensate cities for lost revenues.
- Necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband.
- Assistance to households and low-income communities.
- Assistance to small businesses or nonprofits.
- Assistance to impacted industries such as travel, tourism and hospitality.
- Employee pay and premium pay for essential workers.
However, these funds must be committed to specific projects by December 2024 and spent by December 2026.