City seeking public comment on use of federal funds
The City of Bella Vista has been allocated $5.9 million through the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and is seeking public comment about plans for these funds.
The guidelines regarding on what this money can be spent have been issued by the federal Department of Treasury, and the city has received guidance on this from the Arkansas Municipal League. Originally, funding was to be spent only on the recovery of lost revenue due to the pandemic; water, sewer and broadband infrastructure projects; and employee premium pay.
Thanks to the increase of online shopping during the pandemic, the City of Bella Vista was fortunate not to suffer a loss of revenue since 2020 and therefore does not qualify for that category. The city also does not own or operate water or sewer facilities and cannot by law spend money on that infrastructure. Mayor Peter Christie has from the start and will continue to be focused on broadband improvements to areas lacking internet service in the city.
The final guidelines from the Treasury have changed, however, and now allow cities allocated less than $10 million to spend the money on any project within certain parameters for government service. This includes purchasing land and equipment following standard procurement procedures.
City staff has lined out a plan for the funds, as listed in the table below, and is seeking public input on those plans. A comment period is open until Wednesday, Feb. 9 and comments should be directed to Mayor Peter Christie via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.