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Bloomington Continues Talks On How To Use $22M Of Federal Rescue Plan Funding

A middle range shot of Bloomington City Hall.

(Ethan Burks, WFIU/WTIU News)

Bloomington officials are still in the planning stages for how to spend millions of dollars coming through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The city will be awarded $22.27 million in federal funding, but the exact details on what the money can go toward are still vague.

"They [federal government] want this to be broadly available for recovery and they've realized the way communities have been effected is very broad," said Philippa Guthrie, city corporation counsel. 

City councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith said before any dollars are appropriated, the city must get public input and speak with community stakeholders.

"Also involve our county colleagues, so we can collaborate on common goals with the use of this money because they’re also getting a big chunk of money," said Piedmont-Smith. 

Monroe County is set to receive $28.79 million in ARPA funds from the federal government.

In previous public meetings and press conferences, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton said the money could help fund initiatives in four different buckets: recover lost city revenues, housing insecurity, public infrastructure, and economic recovery.

READ MORE: Hamilton To Ask Council For "Multi-Million" Chunk Of Rescue Plan Funding

Councilmember Matt Flaherty said he hopes the mayor's office comes to the council for ideas before announcing its plans.

"I don't feel like that was always necessarily the case with how we approached 'Recover Forward' expenditures last year," said Flaherty.

From a procedural standpoint, city controller Jeff Underwood said the money will be spent in three waves. The first is an appropriation ordinance expected to be written by the end of this summer, while the remaining two will be part of both the 2022 and 2023 city budgets.

"It’s a 24-month plan split over three fiscal years," said Underwood.

Federal guidelines show that all ARPA funding must be used by Dec. 31, 2024.

"This is just a generational amount of money, and we have this great opportunity to do a lot of good for a lot of people," said councilmember Ron Smith. 

The first appropriation ordinance with ARPA funding is likely to come from Mayor Hamilton’s office at the end of July.

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