FAYETTEVILLE — The City Council has agreed to move a portion of the $17.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds the city received to local programs and nonprofit organizations.
Councilmembers on Tuesday passed three separate resolutions that will put over $2 million towards two new programs and provide relief funding to six nonprofits.
The first resolution was a proposal for the city to create a new program to help low- to moderate-income families pay for childcare.
The childcare program will use up to $500,000 in ARPA funds to provide childcare vouchers for families who were financially impacted by the pandemic. The program will be run by the city’s Community Resources Department, who will perform program outreach to the community, process applications and assess eligibility of applicants. Department staff will maintain documentation on program participation and process monthly payments to licensed Fayetteville childcare facilities. Staff will also monitor and report on the program to ensure compliance.
The second resolution was a $1.26 million subrecipient agreement with the Fayetteville Public Library to create a new workforce training program for impacted residents in the accommodation and food services, construction, and information technology sectors. The proposal was developed in collaboration with the city’s Department of Economic Vitality.
The money will be used to upgrade the library’s simulation lab with new modules for learning how to use front loaders, bulldozers, backhoes and other construction equipment. Funds will also be used to hire an assistant manager for the library’s teaching kitchen, pay a teaching chef stipend, and provide scholarships for 300 students in the library’s kitchen basics course. The library’s coding academy will also receive funds for training equipment and personnel.
A third resolution will provide ARPA funds to six nonprofit organizations that applied for relief money, including Mount Sequoyah Center, Inc. ($16,107.63), Clinton House Museum ($39,018.16), Symphony of Northwest Arkansas ($19,313.50), Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society ($10,925); Fayetteville Public Library Foundation ($89,016) and St. James Missionary Baptist Church ($150,510.46).
All three resolutions were approved unanimously, but Councilmember Mark Kinion was absent for the second and third votes.
Paul Becker, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, said another round of funding will be up for discussion at the council’s next meeting on Dec. 20.