Recently the federal government passed another COVID-19 stimulus funding package called “The American Rescue Plan Act” (ARPA), by which communities across the country will receive federal dollars to assist their homeowners, businesses and communities with the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A provision within ARPA allows for communities “to respond to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality”.
The first way the City Council has decided to utilize the federal dollars is to provide DIRECT assistance to city residents and businesses by using the money to pay all water, sewer and trash bills for the month of May that are due June 20, 2021. The City Council deliberated and felt it was the most direct, efficient and effective way to provide some immediate financial relief to the entire community by utilizing the federal dollars for their intended purpose.
When you receive your normal bill on or around June 1 for your May water, sewer and trash service, it will show “zero due” for June - except for those situations that have past due balances – past due balances will still need to be paid. For those of you that have the payment directly taken out of your checking accounts – no funds will be withdrawn in June. Normal billing will return in July.
Under current federal rules for the ARPA – the City could have used this federal money for touchless bathroom equipment in public buildings, additional PPE, COVID lottery payments, among other things. Instead, City Council chose to give a portion of federal tax dollars directly back to our residents and businesses.
Future deliberations will occur to decide how to spend the remainder of the federal ARPA money. Infrastructure is also a recommended use for the money – and more than likely the City will utilize it to increase and accelerate our water line replacement programs and additional street paving.
We encourage you to consider using the savings this month to support our local Springboro restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses or donate to a local Springboro charity. Help boost our local economy!