FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Maisel
Director of Communications, City of Harrisburg
UPDATE as of July 12, 2023
Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams has signed Bill 5 of 2023.
July 5, 2023
HARRISBURG – Harrisburg City Council and Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams worked together to approve the spending of $31.15 million in American Rescue Plan funding at a legislative session Wednesday night, moving the federal COVID-19 relief funds one step closer to helping city residents.
Council voted to move the funds out of the American Rescue Plan Act appropriation and into the City’s General Fund over the 2023, 2024, and 2025 budget years under a “Revenue Replacement” provision. How much money in each general fund budget will be determined in the near future.
Money voted on for each ARPA program was approved by Council on Wednesday, and will remain even with the fund total moving into the city’s general fund. City Council and Mayor Williams agreed moving the money into the General Fund through the Revenue Replacement provision will allow the City of Harrisburg to operate programs in a manner of reduced administrative costs.
“This is a historic day for the City of Harrisburg,” said Mayor Williams. “I look forward to working with Council and the people of Harrisburg to get this life-altering money into the hands of our residents.”
Bill 5 of 2023, as amended, will head for final approval from Mayor Williams, who has the ability to line-item veto Council’s changes.
Among the programs approved by City Council on Wednesday include $8 million for affordable housing, $5 million for home repairs, and $1.5 million for ADA-accessible playground equipment. In addition, $1.5 million has been set aside for the demolition of dilapidated and abandoned homes, and a total of $1 million was allocated for lower-income residents to help pay for delinquent trash bills.
City Council passed a number of amendments in the June 27 legislative session to use nearly $3 million of money not previously allocated in Mayor Williams’ initial proposal. Among Council’s adds which were given final approval on Wednesday include spending $1 million on a bridge housing program to address homelessness and short-term housing, $1 million on a youth workforce development internship program, $1 million for a “Community Matters” grant program to help serve underserved communities, and $500,000 on a “Community Connection Hub” to increase workforce development and create job opportunities for adults.
“I am very proud of the work Council has done,” said City Council President Danielle Bowers. “I pray we are maximizing these funds for our residents today and through the future.”
The City of Harrisburg was awarded $47,073,625 in federal funds in 2021 as a result of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Following five public meetings held in February and March 2022, Mayor Williams proposed spending $42.46 million of those funds in May 2022. In June 2022, City Council approved $15.9 million of those funds, designed for Public Safety projects and filling revenue lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Council then held three additional public meetings in April 2023, before voting on its proposed changes on June 27. Council made two changes to Mayor Williams’ initial plan. The first was to eliminate a proposal to replace the public pool in South Harrisburg with a water park. Council instead chose to spend the $8 million to replace the pool with a newer pool, which could have splash pad elements, depending on the design. Council also eliminated a program which would have given up-to $10,000 grants for small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
In all, Mayor Williams and Harrisburg City Council will spend approximately $47,050,000 million of the $47,073,625 million it was given by the U.S. government.
A full breakdown of American Rescue Plan spending programs are listed as follows, in order of cost:
- $8 million – Affordable Housing Program
- $8 million – Replacement of South Harrisburg pool
- $5 million – Home repairs, up to $10,000 per unit for low-income residents
- $1.5 million – ADA accessible playground equipment
- $1.5 million – Demolition of dilapidated and abandoned homes
- $1 million – Bridge housing program to address homelessness and short term housing
- $1 million – Community Matters grant program
- $1 million – Payment of delinquent trash bills for low-income residents
- $1 million – Youth workforce development internship program
- $900,000 – Upgraded radio equipment for Harrisburg Bureau of Fire
- $500,000 – Community Connection Hub workforce development training
- $500,000 – Tree removal and pruning for seniors and low-income residents
- $250,000 – Senior citizen programming activities