At the City Council meeting Monday, September 20, 2021 the City Council shared the news that the city had received its first of two payments of $151,101.99 from the American Rescue Plan Act, approved by Congress earlier this year. The City Council promptly shared most of these funds within the community, giving a large portion of it to local businesses and also rewarding City of Farmington employees with premium pay for continuing to serve the public throughout the uncertain times of the pandemic period last year.
Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act are intended to be used to combat the public health and economic health areas that were negatively impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the ensuing restrictions. According to the Act, there are areas of municipal spending that the funds may be used for as well as other areas that they may not. The Council concentrated on the area of “providing economic aid to local businesses” negatively impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on small businesses, often referred to as “non-essential” businesses at the time by Governor Pritzker. Earlier this year, with the help of a self-responsive survey, the Council identified twenty-two businesses and one home-based business that qualified for the grants. The Council awarded twenty-two grants of $5000.00 each and one home-based business grant of $2500.00.
In addition, the Council also approved the payment of “premium pay for essential workers” to eleven employees who were full-time employees during March of 2020 who are still employed full-time. The premium payment of $1000.00 per employee reflected the continued dedication to duty by these employees as they risked COVID-19 interactions on a daily basis in coming in contact with the public.
The city is slated to receive another payment of $151,101.99 at this time next year. Those funds could be paired with the remaining amount from the current allotment, roughly $25,000.00, and be spent in other COVID-related areas such as replacing lost revenue of the city, investing in sewer infrastructure, providing services or programs to contain/mitigate the spread of COVID, or providing additional aid to other approved sectors of the community. This determination would likely be made at a later date. All funds are required to be spent by December 31, 2026.