SAN ANTONIO – After months of community input, the City Manager’s Office presented a framework on how the City of San Antonio can invest the close to $200 million funds part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The proposed plans unveiled Wednesday afternoon include infrastructure, community programs, emergency housing and more.
The City of San Antonio was awarded $326.9 million under ARPA. Of that, $97.5 million were allocated in the 2022 fiscal year budget, and another $30 million were used for utility assistance in November 2021.
The remaining balance that City Council will vote on in the coming weeks is $199.4 million.
The recommended spending plan includes:
- More than $90 million for “Impactful Investments” and capital projects
- $50 million for “COVID-19 Response & Emergency Preparedness”
- $40.95 million for “Immediate Needs”
- $10 million for “Employee Program”
“Impactful Investments” includes $54.4 million invested in current programs for mental health, youth, digital inclusion, arts and senior citizens. Of the programs, mental health leads the investment amount with $26 million. The program’s capital projects beneficiaries include Morgan’s Wonderland, Educare Texas A&M San Antonio and Texas Biomedical Research Institute.
It was proposed that Morgan’s Wonderland be allocated $10.5 million for a new pediatric care center and to help complete The Multi-Assistance Center.
Educare could receive $6 million to build a facility that would provide child care and wraparound services, including mental and behavioral health. According to a representative for Texas A&M present at Wednesday’s session, the center would provide direct care to 250 children ages birth to kindergarten.
Texas Biomed could receive $10 million that would be invested in infrastructure improvements, higher-paying jobs and job growth.
Investments in capital projects also focus on city infrastructure. Ten million dollars would be allocated to improve “F” streets, and $3.8 million would be invested in improving bridges.
The “COVID-19 Response & Emergency Preparedness” funds would, in part, help cover expenses for tests, masks and employee vaccination incentives.
The city’s Emergency Housing Assistance Program could be allotted $10 million under the “Immediate Needs” program. The remaining $30.95 million would benefit small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Employee Program” focuses on compensation, benefit and retention of city employees through focus groups and a management committee.
The lengthy proposal comes after council input, an online survey and citizen input from several town halls held in November 2021.
Council members, including Melissa Havdra of District 6, said the proposed spending plans should also include funds to address the ongoing need for food that some families still face due to the pandemic.
The City Manager’s Office said they would continue to review input from the community and council members ahead of presenting a final plan.
City Council will continue the process to approve the suggested allocations of the AARPA funds next Thursday. The funds must be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026.
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