On August 2, 2021, the Petaluma City Council voted on allocation of almost $8.3 million in American Relief Protection Act (ARPA) funds. I differ in my assessment of the ARPA funds and intended uses.
For example, the proposed remodel of City Hall, including an expansion, along with the Petaluma Police Department, and a new Fire Engine should be derived from Measure U sales tax funds. The City Council could revisit their earlier decision for the first year’s allocation and could have addressed these items with that funding.
Here is my list of recommended allocations, submitted in a public comment for the August 2nd Council agenda item:
|A. Utility Customer Delinquent Account Assistance
Forgive all utility accounts from April 2020 to August 2021
If accounts were not delinquent, provide a TBD credit to a customer’s account
|B. Small Business Loan Forgiveness/Expanded Free Range Program
Forgive all small business loans and provide additional assistance, extend program
|C. Housing Solutions and Support Programs for the Unsheltered||$1,700,000|
|D. Childcare Assistance Before and After School – Program to be approved by
City Council, designed as vouchers or direct payments for qualifying parents
and individuals, making the process as straightforward as possible and extending
through school year 2021-2022.
|E. Funding for enrichment activities, classes, programs in our local public and charter
schools, to provide classes and activities for students K-12, in arts, music, athletics and
other designated offerings from schools. Collaborate with local school districts to
administer the program and funds, design a process that is guardian, parent and family
friendly, with equitable distribution of funds, prioritizing low to moderate income
guardians, parents and families, extending through school year 2021-2022
|F. Feeding Petaluma – Supporting daily meal programs and funding for Unsheltered and
families and individuals in need, coordinated with local nonprofit and faith organizations
|G. City Facility COVID Workplace Safety – HVAC and necessary health and safety upgrades||$1,500,000|
|H. City Council Chambers COVID Safety and Technology/AV Upgrades||$250,000|
|I. One-time payment of appreciation to City employees, $200/ea for 350 employees||$70,000|
|J. Skatepark Site Location and Design, identification and planning of additional Skate
|K. Free passes to the Swim Center for individuals and families of low to moderate income,
with a straightforward process for applying and receiving, extending to August 2022
|Total recommended distribution||$8,270,000|
Information note: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are recommended for COVID-19 expenditures or negative economic impacts of COVID-19, including assistance to small businesses, households, and hard-hit industries, and economic recovery. Also, investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure. Also, premium pay for essential workers. And revenue replacement for 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.
Restrictions on City-allocated funds include no deposit to pension funds.