The City of Lancaster has begun an engagement process regarding $39.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding with the launch of a project on Engage Lancaster, Mayor Danene Sorace announced today.
“This once-in-a-generation investment must be made with great care and thought about what is most needed in our specific community, with transparency and through engagement with the community about how to invest these public dollars,” Mayor Sorace said.
The public can learn more about ARPA funds and give feedback on what is most important to them at engage.cityoflancasterpa.com/en/projects/american-rescue-plan. The first phase of community feedback through Engage Lancaster will remain open through Oct. 30. Throughout this phase, City staff will do outreach at existing events like block parties, neighborhood group meetings and First Friday, alongside traditional and digital engagement. A full list of events will be available on Engage Lancaster.
The Sorace administration along with City Council will prioritize investments based on research, public input, and ranking criteria to be determined in coordination with City Council. These conversations and deliberations will start at City Council meetings in September and October. The City will collect public input continuously as there will be multiple proposals brought before Council on how to spend ARPA funds. Residents are encouraged to submit feedback online and attend Council meetings to share input in person.
Based on initial guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department, ARPA funds can be used in a few main ways: responding to COVID-19 and its negative economic impacts; replacing lost municipal revenue; and water and sewer infrastructure and broadband investments. Funds need to be committed by Dec. 31, 2024 and spent by Dec. 31, 2026. Funding decisions will not be made all at once.
Beyond direct funding to local governments, there are other federal investments being made to support a wide array of initiatives including rent and utility assistance, education, healthcare, transportation and more. These funds are flowing through state and county governments which provide the bulk of social services in the county.
Additionally, the City of Lancaster is committed to leveraging these other sources of federal and state dollars.