The Irvine City Council approved the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending at its meeting on October 26. The spending plan for the $56 million allocation aligns with the City’s five strategic priorities: Quality of Life, Natural Environment, Traffic and Mobility, Fiscal Strength, and Organizational Excellence.
Earlier this year, President Biden signed ARPA into law. The $1.9 trillion package intends to combat the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on local communities. Of the total amount, $350 billion is designated for state and local governments to remedy the effects of COVID-19 on a going forward basis. Of that $350 billion, the City of Irvine will receive $56 million in one-time funding.
“The City Council’s approval of the ARPA spending plan will allow us to further meet the needs of our community by investing in affordable housing, child care, municipal broadband, mental health and most importantly, eliminating food insecurity in our City,” said Mayor Farrah N. Khan. “We know that our diverse community has diverse needs, however, food insecurity should not be one of them. These funds partnered with other funding sources will allow us to develop a sustainable farm-to-table program to eliminate food insecurity for our most vulnerable residents.”
The Rescue Plan dollars will fund programs supporting critical needs of residents and small businesses; initiate investments in critical infrastructure such as affordable housing, child care, and broadband; help address key environmental and transportation priorities; provide for healthier indoor and outdoor environments for the community; help promote responsible public gatherings; and provide means of additional multicultural, multilingual engagement with the community.
Highlights of the spending proposal approved by the City Council include funding for the following critical items:
• Investment in affordable housing, child care services, and local broadband.
• Launching a pilot program for mobile mental health outreach.
• Promoting neighborhood reinvestment through the One Irvine Program, which will help revitalize the City’s older neighborhoods.
• Providing assistance to the City’s most vulnerable individuals, families, and small businesses, including the removal of food insecurity among residents
• Improvements to promote healthy use of City facilities and playgrounds.
• Enhancing multilingual, multicultural outreach and engagement of our diverse community, particularly with increased reliance on social media and virtual forums and events post-COVID.
• Improvements to parks and open spaces, including investment in drought-tolerant planting and drip irrigation.
• Providing additional funding to help implement an ambitious climate action and adaptation plan.
• Improving walkability, bike use, and shared transportation measures based on public outreach efforts.
This federal revenue will be held in a separate City fund subject to both local and federal audits. In addition, City staff will report on the use of these funds quarterly to the Finance Commission and the City Council.