At the City Council meeting on March 15, the Napa City Council approved the allocation of the City’s $15.12 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Consistent with ARPA’s intent to replace public sector revenue loss and support economic stabilization following COVID-19, the City will primarily use the funding to address core needs and support Council priorities on homelessness, economic recovery and workforce stability.
ARPA funds must be obligated by December 2024 and expended by December 2026. The City will receive the second half of their ARPA allocation in June 2022, and the funds from the entire allocation will be added into the next fiscal budget process.
Guided by research on the ARPA legislation and recently released reporting guidelines, the City of Napa has identified a number of projects that satisfy ARPA recommendations: restarting projects that predate COVID-19 but were delayed due to the pandemic, ensuring equitable use of support, and providing a community-driven bank of funds to directly support local interests.
The funds were divided between five categories with the intention of supporting necessary and large one-time projects that would otherwise strain Napa's General Fund. See below for the categories, key projects, and funding allocation:
1. Supporting the Public Health Response ($2.1M)
The City plans to dedicate $2,135,000 in support of urgent COVID-19 response efforts to decrease the spread of the virus within the Napa community. These efforts include:
Human Resources funding toward COVID-19-related employee costs (testing, contact tracing);
Police Department and Fire Department funding toward building out a Central Dispatch Alternate Answer Point and expanding alerting systems at Fire Stations 1, 2, and 3; and
General funding toward emergency operations, including the initiation of a debris management plan, creation of an alternate Emergency Operations Center and production of emergency cooling centers and backup power.
2. Providing Services to Disproportionately Impacted Communities ($3.5M)
Napa is set to allocate $3,500,000 to addressing systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic. These efforts include funding Project Roomkey and ongoing housing readiness, street outreach, and tenancy care for Napa’s unhoused population.
3. Strengthen Napa’s Infrastructure ($5.2M)
The City intends to spend $5,215,000 of ARPA funds to cover the costs of new storm drain infrastructure and conditions assessments. While the storm drain infrastructure is a significant investment, the City of Napa is generating millions of dollars in savings by resolving storm drain infrastructure issues prior to the failure of the existing system.
4. Replace Public Sector Revenue Loss ($3.1M)
The City will use $3.1 million to replace lost public sector revenue to strengthen support for vital public services and help retain jobs. Cities that lost more public sector revenue than they received in ARPA funds (due to the pandemic) can choose to pour the entirety of these funds back into their budget. Napa, with a loss of $26 million, fits this criteria. Nevertheless, the City primarily chose to link selected projects to ARPA’s recommended priorities.
The ARPA funds allocated to replacing public sector revenue loss will primarily cover expenses for various public works projects, including GIS advancement and the SR 29 Undercrossing, Police Department building HVAC system upgrades, more efficient records inventory and management systems, and generators for City facilities.
5. Address Negative Economic Impacts of COVID-19 ($1.1M)
Napa recognizes that COVID-19 negatively impacted more than just City services and programs. The $1,150,000 allocation to a “Community Recovery Bank” will support immediate economic stabilization for local households and businesses. The Community Recovery Bank was designed to give residents some discretionary funds guided more directly by local initiatives or organizations. The City will be soliciting feedback from the public on how to best use these funds which may include efforts such as rental assistance, food bank assistance, small business support and others. Additional information on how to participate and provide input will be available soon.
To learn more about the City of Napa’s finances, community members can browse the City’s OpenGov resources and visualizations at https://www.cityofnapa.org/727/Fiscal-Transparency.