Gainesville seeks input on ARP spending

Gainesville’s Office of Equity and Inclusion wants public feedback on how the city should spend the $32 million it will receive from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), which Congress passed in March.

The office is holding three virtual and one in-person community feedback sessions early next week to promote discussion on the proposals. It also aims to educate citizens on the Equity COVID Budget Tool that the office designed to evaluate the proposals.

In a public email, the city said the tool’s function is “to assess the proposals and move to a more equitable approach to funding distribution.”

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The meetings will take place at the following times:

  • Monday, June 28 from 6-8 p.m. (virtual)
  • Tuesday, June 29 from 6-8 p.m. (in person)
  • Tuesday, June 28 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (virtual)
  • Wednesday, June 28 from 6-8 p.m. (virtual)

Registration is required for both the virtual and in-person sessions. You can register for the virtual sessions online.

The Gainesville City Commission and the Alachua Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) recently kicked off joint talks to coordinate spending of the ARP funds.

City spokeswoman Rossana Passaniti said the feedback collected at the sessions will be given to the city commission ahead of next month’s meeting on proposed ARP spending.

Current proposal categories include broadband infrastructure, healthcare, rent relief, utility debt forgiveness and other related services.

“We’re hoping for very strong participation so we can gather a lot of feedback from our neighbors and put that before the commission when they consider these funding proposals,” Passaniti said in a phone interview.

At the sessions, Passaniti said the proposals will be divided into broad categories (economic, housing, social services, capital projects) and members of the public will group together around whichever category interests them.

Earlier this week, the BOCC started mapping out plans for how to spend its $52 million slice of the American Rescue Plan pie, including a large chunk to broadband infrastructure.

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