San Benito County will receive more than $12 million in Covid-related relief funds from the federal government, and local officials are asking residents and community members how it should be spent.
The funds, to the tune of about $12.2 million, are from the American Rescue Plan Act, a federal stimulus package signed by President Joe Biden in March. ARPA will distribute about $651 billion in direct aid to counties throughout the nation over the next two years.
In San Benito County, officials have begun to circulate an online survey asking residents their preferences on how to spend the local share of ARPA cash. According to a press release from county staff, the ARPA funds can only be used for certain expenditures, including:
– Responding to the Covid-19 public health emergency
– Address the adverse economic impacts suffered by the community as a result of the pandemic
– Assistance in disproportionately impacted neighborhoods
– Premium pay to employees who have performed “essential” or frontline work during the pandemic
– Offset losses in county public revenue due to Covid-19
– Invest in water or sewer infrastructure
– Invest in broadband infrastructure.
The local share of the ARPA funds cannot be used for tax reductions, pension fund payments or deposits, legal settlements, meeting federal grant match requirements or roads and bridges.
The online survey will be open to the public until Oct. 31. Some questions on the brief survey ask the respondent to rank a list of public priorities that the county could potentially spend the ARPA funds on.
The English version of the survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/SBC_ARPA.
The Spanish version of the survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/GZJWSB9.