Spokane weighing methods to use $84 million in COVID-19 stimulus cash

Spokane City officials are considering how to spend $ 84 million on federal COVID-19 stimulus funds and have so far scaled the strategy down to Rs 4.

Replenish, achieve, perseverance and relief.

The four-tier framework set out in a proposed city council resolution is expected to guide the city’s decision-making process in deciding how to use its spending two awards of more than $ 40 million from the American Rescue Plan.

The city council discussed the resolution in a study session on Thursday.

“This resolution is a first attempt at developing a process to organize all the things that people think are great,” said Council Chairman Breean Beggs.

There is no money in the resolution for any specific purpose.

Instead, it focuses on the four topics.

The city will aim to replenish its own coffers, particularly to cover the revenue hit by COVID-19.

An example would be Spokane Parks and Recreation, whose program was disrupted by the pandemic last year.

Instead of just giving departments a check, Beggs says the focus is on developing “responsive” projects. For the park department, this means funding the water program, which was completely discontinued in 2020.

When schools closed during the pandemic, the city lost revenue that was normally captured by its cameras used to obtain tickets for motorists racing through school zones. The program, valued at $ 2.6 million in fines last year, had grossed just $ 1.2 million as of November 2020.

The proceeds from these tickets go to projects aimed at making the streets safer. The concept under the resolution of the American Rescue Plan is not only to compensate for lost revenue from traffic calming, but also to support certain traffic calming projects.

“Reach out” refers to funding from community organizations that the city is already funding, such as Spokane COPS and Spokane Arts, which provide “quasi-urban services,” Beggs said.

Beggs said the city will seek to help businesses and residents in ways that alternative pandemic relief programs have not.

According to the draft resolution, “resilience” calls for “substantial investment in future-oriented initiatives that create long-term, sustainable growth and stability for the city of Spokane and all of its community members”.

To that end, Councilor Candace Vimes suggested directing a two- or three-year preschool program funded by a combination of funds from the American Rescue Plan and other federal and state funds.

“There is data to support this. It has enormous economic and social implications for the future, ”said Mumm.

The Council is expected to vote on the resolution on June 7th.