New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced preliminary plans for community engagement and citizen input for the estimated $108 million allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in New Castle County government.
Meyer also encouraged residents to submit their ideas and suggestions directly for the investment of these critical public funds at www.newcastlede.gov/reimagine.
“This is a historic opportunity to reimagine the communities in which we live, an unprecedented opportunity to address problems that arose in recent months and divisions that have festered for decades,” New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer said. “We thank President Biden, Senator Carper, Senator Coons and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester in ensuring every local government across our state has resources to build back better, and we look forward to our continued partnership with County Council to get these funds to the communities, families and individuals in most need.”
New Castle County will receive approximately $108 million from this fund to fight COVID-19 and its impacts in two tranches: $54 million in 2021 (paid 60 days post certification); $54 million in 2022 (paid within 12 months of first tranche). The resources must be expended by December 31, 2024.
Building on the work of the CARES Act Task Force we engaged for guidance on investments of that federal funding, we will again look to advice from outside experts to provide recommendations. The currently planned ARPA Task Force Committees are:
1. Audit & Compliance
2. Intergovernmental Collaboration
3. Community and Economic Development
4. Workforce Development
5. Early Learning
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Reconciliation Act provision states that funds can be used to cover the following expenses:
- Respond to the public health emergency with respect to the COVID19 or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality
- Respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the county that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work
- For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue (i.e. online, property or income tax) due to the public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the county prior to the emergency (I.e. January 20, 2020), or
- Make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.
Last year, New Castle County received $322 million in federal CARES Act dollars. The National Association of Counties and National Academy of Public Administration recently recognized New Castle County government for using “innovative strategies in deploying Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars, with special attention to programs focusing on inclusive economic recovery and on assisting vulnerable and underserved populations.” Download the report here; see page 51 for New Castle County highlights.
Your county government invested CARES Act resources to eliminate community health inequalities, serve the most vulnerable, address food insecurity, contain the spread of the virus and support State of Delaware’s programs.
Numerous New Castle County COVID-19 initiatives have been recognized nationally and, in many cases, replicated in other cities, counties and states
Those key investments include the conversion of the Sheraton Wilmington South hotel into an emergency homeless shelter with comprehensive services, the formation of a pilot program under the name of National Health Corps Delaware, the creation of a next generation genomics lab with Delaware State University for COVID-19 testing, setting up and executing a national model for COVID testing, a groundbreaking partnership with DonorsChoose to directly fund Delaware teachers’ COVID-19 related funding requests and utilizing our sewer system to detect COVID-19 outbreaks and variants.