FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2022
Contact: Matt Maisel, Director of Communications
[email protected], (717) 678-5166
HARRISBURG – Looking to give Harrisburg residents the support they need to help the city thrive coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams has formally asked City Council to appropriate more than $42 million awarded to the city through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
In March 2021, President Joseph R. Biden signed the American Plan Act (ARPA) into law, freeing up $30.5 billion for state and local governments to offset the impact of the pandemic and help communities rebuild. The City of Harrisburg received $47,073,625, with the first half received in May 2021, and the second half expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
Mayor Williams has asked City Council to spend $42.46 million of the available funds to assist in the following categories:
- $14.5 million to help lower income city residents
- $10 million for beautification, parks, and recreational needs
- $9.16 million for Public Safety
- $8.8 million to cover lost revenue
“We are incredibly grateful to the Biden Administration and Congress for this funding,” said Mayor Williams. “This type of money not only will help give the people of Harrisburg new lives, but in some cases, save lives.”
This would leave $4.61 million in the balance for future programs, which must be appropriated for use by December 31, 2024.
Further details of Mayor Williams’ request for ARPA funds is available on the adjacent page.
Mayor Williams’ letter to City Council represents the second phase of a three-step process. The first phase took place in February of this year, when city government held four town hall meetings throughout the city to discuss the wants and needs of Harrisburg residents.
“We listened to what our community had to say, and we developed a list that we feel will help life the City of Harrisburg out of the [COVID-19] pandemic,” said Mayor Williams.
Once the administration drafts legislation on how to use ARPA funding, city department heads will be available to speak to and answer questions from council members as to how the requested money will impact their divisions.
Throughout the process, Mayor Williams adds, her office will be available to speak to residents about their needs and concerns as it relates to ARPA funding.
Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams’ 2022 American Recovery Act Plan (ARPA) Request
Helping Lower Income Residents ($14.5 million)
• Affordable Housing Program to further efforts to build affordable units in the city. This money can be used as matching funds or direct assistance to projects that meet Department of Building and Housing (DBHD} standards and approvals. ***Criteria developed by DBHD*** $8 million.
• $10,000 home repairs for homeowner-occupied units with residents 250% the 2022 HHS poverty rate or below. Payments would be directly paid to vendors on pre-approved work after the work completed is confirmed. ***Criteria developed by DBHD*** $5 million.
• Payment of delinquent trash utility bills for residents 250% the 2022 HHS poverty rate or below from months between March 2020 and March 2022. $1 million.
• Grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses affected by the pandemic. ***Criteria and application process for this would be developed by DBHD*** $500,000.
Beautification, Parks and Recreation ($10 million)
• A Water Park, with spray area, lazy river, slides, ADA-zero entry points, concession and community space designed for families, located in South Harrisburg. $8 million.
• ADA-accessible playground equipment for children with special needs. This will allow for all children in the City to have access to playgrounds. $1.5 million.
• Tree removal and pruning for trees that are marked for removal or pruning on private property. Parks and Recreation Works will work with seniors and homeowners at 250% the 2022 HHS poverty rate or below to target trees that pose danger to the public. $500,000.
Public Safety ($9.16 million)
• Public Safety Building HVAC System Replacement – Given the age and critical disrepair of the current HVAC system, and the antiquated layout and design as it relates to combating airborne illness. $5.5 million.
• Bonuses of $5,000 for Police Officers and Firefighters with the city as of 1/1/2022. $1.26 million.
• Upgraded radio system for the Fire Bureau – With the city responding to calls outside of the city and the current aging system not fully functional in the county, this will allow us to better respond to events that happen throughout the community. $900,000.
• Demolition of dilapidated and abandoned houses – The city has demolished two properties this year, with bids out for three additional properties and six more ready for demolition this year using current funding of $139,000 from the general fund and $51,000 from Community Development Block Grants. By putting this additional money into this program, we can cut the backlog of properties currently on the list ready for demolition (42 houses) and look towards expanding the program. $1.5 million.
Lost Revenue ($8.8 million) – Money approved in 2022 budget