Alexandria was approved for $59.6 million in American Rescue Plan funding, City Manager Mark Jinks announced to the City Council on Tuesday night.
Jinks said the city’s Congressional delegation was successful in convincing U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to include Alexandria as not only a city, but as a county as well, resulting in the City taking home double what it would have otherwise received.
“We made the argument and got a coalition of other city, elected officials and appointed officials in Virginia to basically put pressure on our Congressional delegation to tell the Treasury Secretary, who was writing the rules… that cities in Virginia perform county functions, as well as city functions, and it’s equitable,” Jinks said. “It’s not double dipping, it’s double duty. And so, we should be on both lists. The Treasury Secretary agreed, and the allocations came out yesterday. And so we have about $30 million from each of those lists.”
There are 37 independent cities in the U.S., and 34 of them are in Virginia. The extra designation for cities to receive dual funding resulted in $460 million additional funds distributed around the country.
Mayor Justin Wilson said that the city benefited from a unique situation.
“There is a significant opportunity now for the city to invest these funds in a way to get our community back on its feet,” he said. “It’s a very exciting opportunity for us.”
Residents have until May 13 to submit proposals on how the ARP funds should be spent. The city is limited in how it will spend the money to the following:
- Responding to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts to residents and businesses;
- Compensating for revenue reductions due to COVID; or
- Supporting infrastructure projects related to water, sewer, or broadband
“Because the Alexandria City Public Schools will receive a separate allocation of federal funding, school projects will not considered under this City process,” the City noted.
Jinks said that there are more than 900 submitted recommendations, and that staff will present Council with a boiled down list in June, followed by a finalized list of how the funds will be spent in July.