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Milwaukee County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Task Force is inviting the public to share their ideas outlining how to allocate the federal funds Milwaukee County will receive as part of ARPA.
“Milwaukee County: we want to hear from you,” said ARPA Task Force Co-Chair Shawn Rolland, a Milwaukee County Supervisor representing District 6. “We can’t do our best work until we hear from our neighbors.”
Milwaukee County residents can provide input online at Milwaukee.gov/ARPA.taskforce. The site allows users to rank their spending choices from an established list of services and share their own unique project proposals. Those who submit proposals are encouraged to verify that their project meets federal spending guidelines, provide metrics to measure the success of the proposal, give a cost estimate, and explain how the proposal advances the county’s mission of racial equity.
How the funds can be used
The U.S. Department of the Treasury guidelines for the allowable uses for the APRA recovery funds include:
- supporting the COVID-19 public health response
- addressing the negative economic impacts created by the pandemic
- serving the communities and families that were hardest hit by the virus and the economic downturn
- providing premium pay for essential workers
- investing in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, and
- replacing lost revenues. Milwaukee County lost an estimated $300-400 million in revenue due to the pandemic.
Milwaukee County will receive about $183.6 million in ARPA funding. Thus far, the task force is recommending that:
- 63% of ARPA dollars ($115,728,599) be allocated to “revenue loss recovery.” Sample expenditures could include stabilizing government services; addressing the county’s backlog of capital projects and deferred maintenance; investing in technology, service delivery or facilities to realize cost-savings or efficiencies; and investing in new revenue generating strategies.
- 20% of ARPA dollars ($36,739,238) be allocated to “community support.” Sample expenditures could include immediate, limited-term financial assistance for individuals; evidence-based strategies to address targeted social determinants of health; and collaborative initiatives that match other private and public funds.
- 13% of ARPA dollars ($23,880,505) be allocated to “COVID-19 mitigation.” Sample expenditures could include responding to COVID-19 mitigation needs (vaccination administration, PPE, testing, physical distancing measures); culturally-relevant and effective communications planning to support COVID mitigation; prevention of spread in congregate settings and other dense work sites; and payroll expenses for public health, safety and other staff responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 4% of ARPA dollars ($7,347,848) be allocated to “fund administration.” Sample expenditures could include complying with fiscal, programmatic and federal reporting requirements; sponsoring project-level evaluation and community engagement contracts; and establishing data collections processes.
“These federal funds will not solve the extreme fiscal challenges faced by Milwaukee County, but I still urge neighbors to dream big, share your great ideas, and help us deliver strong recommendations that our community will believe in,” says Supervisor Rolland.
Next steps to engage community input
The ARPA Taskforce plans to solicit and collect ideas throughout the fall, then evaluate feedback and debate proposals before making an initial recommendation to the Milwaukee County Board in the spring. The ARPA Task Force plans to hold a series of community education meetings and town hall events this fall. More information about these events will be shared when details are finalized. The next Milwaukee County ARPA Task Force meeting is planned for Monday, Oct. 18, 2021 at 11 am. Anyone who would like to speak to task force members during their virtual meetings is welcome to provide live public comment by visiting: milwaukee.gov/PublicCommentAdHoc and following the instructions provided.
About Milwaukee County’s ARPA Task Force
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 was signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden on March 11, 2021, to provide support to individuals, families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 13, 2021, County Executive David Crowley signed the “ARPA Task Force” resolution sponsored by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson. The resolution created the task force and called on its members to engage input from the community, especially underrepresented groups; develop non-binding recommendations for the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors; and provide updates and recommendations to the county board until all ARPA monies are allocated.