BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The City of Bella Vista, Ark. is seeking the public’s opinion on how to distribute its allocated $5.9 million federal funds.
According to a press release, the funds are part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and there are guidelines regarding what this money can be spent on issued by the federal Department of Treasury. The city is also receiving guidance from the Arkansas Municipal League.
The funds were originally only to be spent on the recovery of lost revenue due to the pandemic; water, sewer and broadband infrastructure projects; and employee premium pay.
However, the City said it does not own or operate water or sewer facilities and cannot by law spend funds on that infrastructure.
According to the release, Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie will continue to be focused on broadband improvements to areas lacking internet service.
The release notes the final guidelines from the Treasury have changed, and now allow cities allocated less than $10 million to spend funds on any project with certain parameters for government service, including purchasing land and equipment following standard procurement procedures.
City staff members have outlined a plan for the funds, which is listed below. The public will be able to give their opinion until Wednesday, Feb. 9. Comments should be directed to email@example.com.
- Employee bonuses for essential non-exempt employees who have worked during the pandemic ($600K in 2022, $600K in 2023). Includes employer payroll tax & 457 match funds. Amount: $1.2 million
- Broadband Improvements. Amount: $1.03 million
- Phase 1 of Police Department at Town Center remodel, to become occupied by Fire Department for administration offices and living quarters when PD moves to new facility. Amount: $1.6 million
- Land purchase for future Fire Station No. 5. Amount: $80,000
- Purchase of air curtain burner to dispose of residential and commercial yard waste. Note: Additional future costs could include purchase of site location and increase in headcount to staff the operation. Amount: $870,000
- Cyber Security Enhancements. Amount: $300,000
- Restrooms for trailheads. Note: This is an estimated cost anticipating partnerships with other entities. Additional future costs could include sewer connection at some sites plus maintenance of facilities. Amount: $270,000
- Costs associated with relocating City Hall to current court location at Village Center when court moves to new public safety facility. Includes interior remodel work. Amount: $300,000
- Special Anti-Virus Filters for HVAC Systems at Library. Amount: $10,000
- Machine shed at existing police evidence building to protect certain police equipment obtained under the Federal LESO program. Amount: $40,000
- Fire Training Facility Contingency. Amount: $200,000