City Council Discusses Future Funds from Relief Bill

The Clovis City Council discussed the American Rescue Plan (APR) Act during their city council meeting on Monday, Apr. 5. (Clovis Roundup Photo)

The Clovis City Council reviewed the American Rescue Plan (APR) Act and detailed what the plan means for the City of Clovis at the Monday, April 5 meeting.

In the latest $1.9 billion relief bill, $155 billion is allocated to local governments, such as Clovis.

Based on a formula from the Department of the Treasury, the City of Clovis will receive an estimated $18.7 million from the bill.

“The Treasury has published an estimate that Clovis will be receiving $18.7 million from that pot of funding,” said Community and Economic Development Director Andrew Haussler. “That is based on our Community Development Block Grant formula, which takes into account poverty, income levels, amongst other categories to determine how it is allocated.”

In the bill, there are numerous ways that the funding is allowed to be spent, specifically in COVID-19 related areas.

Clovis can use the money to assist those negatively impacted economically by COVID-19, including households, small businesses, nonprofits and affected industries.

The city can also allocate premium pay or provide grants to eligible workers who perform essential work.

Additionally, Clovis can use the money for the provision to the extent of the reduction in revenue relative to revenues collected in the fiscal year before the pandemic.

Funds can also be used for the necessary investment in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

At the March 15 meeting, the council discussed funding Clovis Fire Station Two’s construction in the next year. This project would cost in the range of $9 million.

Although the council proposed government funding going toward the fire station, it is still unclear if that plan falls under the treasury guidelines. The City Council will have to wait for further information.

“The [State] Secretary has been given the power to issue guidelines, and the League of Cities at the nationwide level has been actively engaged in discussions,” Haussler said. “And we’ve been part of those calls.”

When the treasury provides guidelines for funds, Haussler will return with budgetary and programmatic ideas.

“Once we understand what it [the money] can be used for, then we can come back,” Haussler said. “I’ve got sheets of ideas on things that can be done to help the community, but we need to make sure they line up with what the federal government is saying.”

Haussler says that he expects to hear from the treasury in early May, with the money being given to the city in mid-May.

The funding will be allocated on two separate occasions. The first allocation will occur in May, with a disbursement of $9.35 million and a second $9.35 million allocation available in the spring of 2022.

A deadline to spend the allocated funds has been set for December 31, 2024.

At this time, Clovis is assessing available aid for residents and businesses, as well as gaps in the community.

“Today, we sent out over 2,000 individuals information on housing aid that is now available to the county of Fresno because of that aid package,” Haussler said. “We’ve also done that for the business community consistently and will continue to do so.”

For now, Haussler will continue with community outreach and gathering information through consultations and surveys addressing community needs.

Anthony De Leon
Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.