AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – How to spend the millions of dollars the City of Amarillo is getting from the American Rescue Plan?
City and county leaders asking for input in a meeting happening Monday night at the Amarillo Civic Center. It is the second installment of the City of Amarillo’s Community Solutions series.
The focus of Monday’s Amarillo Community Solutions is the American Rescue Plan Act, and the priorities for the Amarillo community regarding those funds.
The City of Amarillo said they are still waiting on full guidance on what the money can go towards and that they must spend that the money from the American Rescue Plan by December of 2024.
The City of Amarillo also addressed guidelines they must follow with the American Rescue Plan such as using other grants and programs whenever possible first.
Many ideas were floated by city and county leaders Monday tonight, such as the Amarillo Senior Citizens Association asking for $2 million to help with programs and to help with renovating their new building. The North Heights Advisory Committee asking about adequate fire protection on the north side of town, especially fire hydrants, and if these funds could go towards combating other outbreaks in our community such as HIV and AIDS.
Mayor Ginger Nelson said they want to know how they can best serve the entire community with these funds.
“We want to not just think as the city, but think as our entire community we were grateful to have leaders from Potter County and Randall County here tonight to listen to citizens. What do citizens think our priorities should be for spending all of this money throughout our community,” said Mayor Nelson.
Randall County Judge Christy Dyer said finding the solutions that serve the needs of the members of Randall County is key.
“The most important thing for Randall County is to find the needs and solutions that will touch as many citizens of Randall County as possible,” said Judge Dyer.
Potter County will be receiving $22.8 million, Randall County will receive $26.7 million and the City of Amarillo will receive between $39 and $42 million according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Amarillo Assistant City Manager Laura Storrs told us on May 10th that they want and value citizens’ opinions on where these funds should go.
Storrs said after this Monday’s meeting that they will continue to dig through information regarding the American Rescue Plan and present ideas to the Amarillo City Council.
“We will have more information presented at upcoming city council meetings and then if there is any more of those dollars going towards certain projects, either businesses or individuals who maybe eligible, you will be sharing information out to the public to know actually how that looks like and how they can participate in that,” said Storrs.
Local governments should expect to receive funds in two payments, with 50% being provided at the beginning of May 2021 and the rest being delivered 12 months later.
The money from the American Rescue Plan is designed to help cities and communities in recovery from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.