Cincinnati is getting about $12 million less than expected from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA. Guidance from the U.S. Treasury released Monday gives the official amount: about $279 million over the next two years, plus about $20 million restricted for health and affordable housing.
Last week, council approved spending more than $134 million of the then-expected $311 million, mostly to fill deficits in the current and upcoming budgets.
Council's Budget and Finance Committee opted Tuesday not to vote on any additional appropriations until the next meeting next Monday, allowing time to review the guidance and amend their requests.
Member Greg Landsman says council should reconsider the $17.5 million approved for support programs in light of the reduced amount.
"We spent $2 million on streateries in OTR, in addition to the streateries we've done, and the neighborhoods are wondering if they're going to receive funding," Landsman said. "One question I'm sure I'll get asked is, why not just split that up — a million dollars for neighborhoods, a million dollars for OTR?"
Committee Chair David Mann says the support programs approved last week fall within the new federal guidance; he says he's opposed to revisiting those decisions.
The funds approved so far include help for arts organizations, restaurants and minority businesses.
The Human Services Chamber is asking for the rest of the stimulus funding to be used for their member organizations and affordable housing.
"The human services sector has experienced the same job losses and financial stresses these other sectors have; the difference is that human services sectors will be on the front lines of helping residents recover from this pandemic," said Gina Marsh, the Human Services Chamber executive director, during public comment. "We appreciate the $2 million City Council approved to restore cuts last year. However, we will need much more support for staff and resources if we are to significantly impact our community's recovery."
The city manager's amended spending plan for ARPA money includes about $8.1 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which would come from a portion of ARPA restricted for use on affordable housing.
Council members have submitted dozens of motions with ideas for the $29 million left to spend in the first year. The next discussion on spending will be at the next committee meeting on Monday, May 17 at 1 p.m.
See the city manager's amended spending plan below: