HIGH POINT — City officials say they want public input on how to spend federal American Rescue Plan Act funds and are working on a process for gathering feedback.
The city has received $11.3 million of an expected $22.6 million in ARPA funds but has not yet committed any of the money. Officials say possible categories of expenditures include infrastructure and other types of capital projects, housing needs and providing services that were impacted by lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are starting to ask these questions everyday,” City Councilman Cyril Jefferson said. “We get the calls and emails from people who are just curious — What are our plans? At least at this point, we don’t know what concrete plans are.”
The city’s website will include information about ARPA funds and a community input process that’s still under discussion.
Options include surveys, engagement through the website and public meetings.
Guilford County leaders have expressed an interest in holding a forum at City Hall, possibly with the council, but nothing has been scheduled.
The county just completed a series of sessions on public priorities for its projected $104 million in ARPA money. Mayor Jay Wagner suggests a somewhat similar approach by the city.
“I think that, since the county is a bit ahead of us, I would suggest kind of a hybrid approach where we’re going to do our own schedule of meetings, but at the same time, there may be opportunities for us to partner with the county on something,” Wagner said. “Because my guess is they’re probably going to have similar suggestions and maybe a similar roadmap.”
He said it might be better for the city to have its own process since it provides different types of services than the county.
“If, after going through the process, we can somehow work with them to maximize that money to make a bigger impact, I think we need to try to do that,” Wagner said. “I don’t know how quickly they’re planning to move from their meetings to actual spending, but if they’re willing to hold off a little bit to let us get through with our process, then maybe we can look for how we could work with them.”