The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is the federal plan to provide direct relief to Americans, contain the spread of COVID-19, and rescue the economy. ARPA is a $1.9 trillion package that includes direct relief to states, counties, cities, and towns as well as public utilities, libraries, and transit agencies. Local governments like the City of Burien received funding through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, managed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Burien’s allocation totaled $10.8 million. The one-time funding must be spent by December 31, 2026.
On September 12, 2022, the Burien City Council approved an implementation plan to use the funding. The community had the opportunity to share their priorities on use of funds through surveys, focus groups, and online meetings.
Funding will be used to support the following priorities:
- Public safety: $450,000 to be used to support increased safety in the downtown area via a dedicated storefront resource police officer, a social worker to serve as neighborhood care coordinator, and a Community Response Team which pairs a designated crisis responder with an emergency medical service (EMS) professional.
- Information technology and infrastructure upgrades: $825,000 will go to upgrading the City’s information technology systems to support strengthened cybersecurity standards and hybrid virtual and in-person public meetings.
- Economic development: $1.7 million will go to small business grants and loans, childcare business development, workforce development, and support for local businesses to enhance security and address property damage. The Storefront Repair Grant Program is an example of a program under this priority.
- Infrastructure: $2.1 million will go toward building a new public works and parks maintenance facility and $400,000 will go to help connect community members on septic systems to sewer.
- Community needs: $2.9 million will go toward supporting community needs including gang and youth violence intervention, support for people experiencing homelessness, food access, mental health and counseling, neighborhood cleanliness, and housing stability.
Since implementation of projects in the plan will need to be integrated into existing City work, the community impact of each project was considered alongside existing staff workload, resource needs (staffing, finances, and equipment), and contracting requirements. The plan assigns staff project leads to ensure accountability and includes estimates of how many businesses or community members the project will help, how much the project will cost, and performance measures.