This post is part of an ongoing series examining the American Rescue Plan and its impact on SLED IT. Read the FAQ answering the most common questions around the ARP. SLATE's American Rescue Plan Information & Resources Page has complete details of the legislation's impact on SLED.
Fiscal Relief for Cities
The economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have been particularly profound for city governments. As businesses shuttered, the economy slowed, and the virus persisted, mayors and finance leaders saw revenues drying up. The American Rescue Plan provides $65.1B in direct aid to municipalities throughout the country. This funding is split between metropolitan cities ($45.6B for cities with a population greater than 50,000) and other municipalities ($19.5B for cities with a population less than 50,000). The table below shows how much money the top five cities in each state should receive. Some states do not have five cities receiving this funding.
This map shows the same data as the table above - the size of the circle corresponds to the amount that city will receive.
The city aid in the ARP is a formula grant - meaning a set of predetermined criteria, like population, determines that amount allocated to each jurisdiction. This is why New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. are receiving so much; their populations are simply magnitudes larger than the average city.
With billions of dollars in aid shortly arriving in city coffers throughout the country, it is important to understand what leaders are saying about this money. Here's a roundup of what various city officials are saying about the American Rescue Plan.
National League of Cities
"The American Rescue Plan will spark new life into our nation's hometowns and offer hope to those who need it most. Local governments will put this urgently needed aid into action for residents, households and small businesses that are at the heart of our nation's cities, towns and villages everywhere."
-Clarence Anthony, Executive Director
United States Conference of Mayors
"Mayors in every corner of this nation, of every political stripe, are praising the final House passage of the American Rescue Plan."
"Over the last year, COVID-19 has dealt our cities a triple dose of crises - a public health emergency, declining tax revenues from the economic shutdown and an overwhelming public need for essential services."
-Greg Fischer, USCM President & Louisville Mayor
St. Louis, MO
$61M for the housing crisis
$78.5M for public safety initiatives
$34.75M for employment and small business
$80M for critical infrastructure and deferred maintenance
$175M to offset revenue losses
$19.5M for the Department of Health
Responding to criticize that this aid will simply compensate for poor decisions of the past, Giles said, "One hundred percent will go directly to covid-related assistance".
-John Giles, Mayor
"Lakewood has many identified needs that can be addressed by the American Rescue Plan's relief. We must be deliberate when considering where to apply this funding. My goal is to identify the initiatives and projects that will bring about the most equitable, long-term impact for our community."
-Mayor Meghan George
Funding will help the city avoid cuts in critical services like police, fire, and transportation
Funding will be built into the city's budget
Money will go toward continuing programs like rental assistance and hosting vaccination sites
The mayor hopes the funding will allow the city to ride out the rest of the pandemic
-Mayor Tim Keller
Mount Airy, MD
"We will not take this task lightly and will look at this opportunity to benefit our community in the long run. My hope is that it will serve as a silver lining to dark clouds that have loomed over us for the past year."
-Mayor Patrick Rockinberg
New Orleans, LA
"We were disappointed by the way the CARES Act funding was diluted and diverted at the State level, which forced the City to make very painful decisions to adjust to the new reality in our recovery heading toward the end of 2020. But there is now some relief on the way, thanks to the new stimulus bill that was passed last week."
-Mayor LaToya Cantrell
While he did not announce any specifics, the mayor stated, "These dollars will help alleviate financial pressures caused by the pandemic and help us to continue to move forward in a positive direction."
-Mayor Sheldon Neeley
San Diego, CA
The city will use the "Back to Work SD" plan as a blueprint
Protecting the city's core services and jobs
Preparing the city for a return to life after the pandemic
Closing budget gaps
Reducing homelessness and assisting renters
-Mayor Todd Gloria
"So, when we spend it will be gone. So we should use it accordingly, and it shouldn't be used for expenses that are going to reoccur ever year, year after year."
Prioritizing getting businesses back on their feet
Paying off COVID-19 pandemic debts
Amending the 2021 budget to remove fund balances
Air filtration systems
Technology upgrades to better respond to public health emergencies
-Mayor Patrick Madden
Los Angeles, CA
"With this pandemic wreaking havoc on our local budgets, these relief funds will go a long way in helping us reach our ultimate destination: more buses on our streets, more trains on the tracks, and restored service, ahead of schedule."
-Mayor Eric Garcetti on LA Metro's funding