The City of Bainbridge Island’s portion of the recently-passed American Rescue Plan Act funding is currently projected to be around $5.3 million, taking COBI’s total recovery funding past the $6.6 million mark, according to figures recently published by the Washington Research Council. In addition, Kitsap County is targeted to receive another $52 million ($73 million total)and the State of Washington another separate $4.3 billion payment ($6 billion total), taken from the $1.9 trillion dollars in overall economic stimulus approved by Congress.
Designed to provide support for general pandemic economic recovery and cover government revenue shortfalls, the Federal bill is very clear about how the new money may (and may not) be spent.
Allowed uses are:
- Responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency “or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;”
- Providing premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work (premium pay is defined as up to $13 an hour, in addition to wages a worker otherwise receives, not to exceed $25,000 per worker);
- Providing grants to eligible employers with employees performing essential work;
- Providing “government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue . . . due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year . . . prior to the emergency;”
- Making “necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.”
Two uses are explicitly forbidden:
The first bans both States and local governments from using the funds “for deposit into any pension fund.”
The second bans States (but not local governments) from using the funds to “to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue of such State or territory resulting from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax (by providing for a reduction in a rate, a rebate, a deduction, a credit, or otherwise) or delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase.”
Hopes and Dreams
The allowed uses are intended to cover a wide range of critical areas for communities, businesses and governments alike. We can but hope that at a reasonable portion of these local funds will be made available in grant programs, and other assistance to support the survival of beloved island businesses and nonprofits, and perhaps potential premium pay programs to further reward Bainbridge workers.
As a business or organization on Bainbridge Island, how do you think the City should best deploy the potential $6.6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act for the benefit of our community?
Share your thoughts and suggestions with us here at The Chamber, and directly with our Council Members individually or collectively, via the phone and email links at: https://www.bainbridgewa.gov/217/City-Council
See more on the projected allocations from the Washington Research Council.