Lodi gets $16 million from American Rescue Plan Act – where will it go?

The City of Lodi received approximately $16 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This is how the funds will be allocated.

Over the past few months the Lodi City Council has been discussing where to appropriate funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. This was an economic stimulus bill signed into law on March 11, 2021 which included $65 billion for local governments to survive throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Click here to see the May 5, 2021 Lodi City Council Meeting where the Council discusses how to use the funding. Issue starts at 1:09:35.

Lodi was allocated $16.14 million from the ARPA. However, there are restrictions on how the funds can be used:

  • Can be used to replace lost revenue.
  • Economic Development including aid to households, small businesses, non profits and industries especially affected by COVID like hospitality and tourism.
  • Direct response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Water, sewer or broadband infrastructure investments.
  • Full guidance is still expected from Treasury in the future.

City Staff prioritized these funds over three tiers with required quarterly reporting to the Council.

  1. Revenue Replacement for General Fund ($2.2 M), Library ($30,000) and PRCS ($2.2 M) ($4.5 M total).
  2. Refund COVID-19 Response Expenditures Deemed Ineligible by FEMA ($2.25 M).
  3. Community Priorities – see the image below ($9.3 M).

At the 1:21:07 mark of the meeting, Council Member Mikey Hothi suggested adding another $10,000 to the Chamber of Commerce Farmer’s Market Grant, making it a total $50,0000 because they’ve been hit especially hard from COVID. Their staff has been reduced from seven people to just three, and they were unable to hold any events last year due to the pandemic. Council Member Hothi suggested they move $10,000 from vaccine incentives since that is proposed at $250,000. All other Council Members outwardly supported this move with the exception of Mayor Pro Tempore Mark Chandler.

Council Member Doug Kuehne then commented on the proposed communities priorities list. He said he was fine with items 1-3, but wasn’t supportive of of the fourth – Local Business Assistance Grants ($600,000). His reasoning was because anyone can get an SBA loan at this time, and their interest rates are the lowest they have ever been. Additionally, the Paycheck Protection Program is on its second or third wave, and there is a lot of state and federal funds in which businesses can apply for if they are astute enough. Instead, Council Member Kuehne would prefer to use the money to help the heritage district of Lodi.

Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler responded by saying the business owners need this money and were expecting some sort of assistance from the City.

The funds for the items in the Community Priorities list were slightly re-organized and voted on one by one. Most notably, $100,000 was taken from local business assistance grants. Additionally, the Chamber of Commerce Farmer’s Market Grant received an additional $20,000 from the original proposed $40,000. That money came from the vaccine incentives item, where the goal is to have more citizen of Lodi receive the COVID-19 vaccination(s). In return, the City of Lodi is offering a $25 credit on their City of Lodi electric utility bill.

Navigation Center and Low Bar Homeless Shelter$5,500,005-0 in favor
City Wide Homeless Cleanup$162,0004-1 in favor, with MPT Chandler dissenting
Utility Debt Relief$1,500,0005-0 in favor
Local Business Assistance Grants$500,0004-1 in favor, with MPT Chandler dissenting
Broadband Infrastructure$1,000,0005-0 in favor
East Side Sidewalk Repairs$100,0005-0 in favor
Chamber of Commerce Farmer’s Market Grant$60,0005-0 in favor
Refund EU for COVID Relief Credit$1,235,0005-0 in favor
Vaccine Incentives$230,0005-0 in favor

The final two items on the communities priorities list will be looked over by City Staff and presented to the Council at a later date. Their goal is to cut $100,000 somewhere in the SBA Program. That was the end of discussion on the American Rescue Plan Act during the May 5, 2021 Lodi City Council Regular Meeting. If you have any thoughts on how the funds were or should have been allocated, leave a comment below.

Hector Madrigal

Hector Madrigal is the founder of The Grape Vine. He strives to bring unbiased news and information to the people free of charge. Based in Lodi, Hector will be reporting on Lodi news first and foremost.

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