Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) and her Council colleagues unanimously voted today to pass a resolution outlining spending priorities for an anticipated $239 million the City of Seattle expects to receive in federal COVID relief dollars as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The resolution outlines Council’s priorities for the American Rescue Plan Act, which was initially discussed during the Finance and Housing Committee on March 2 and passed out of committee on March 16, 2021.
“With additional federal funding, we can address the deep needs our community has, including addressing food security, childcare affordability and closures, small business support, and housing and rent relief,” said Mosqueda. “The funding decision must address immediate needs as well as long-term equitable economic recovery.”
The resolution was developed based on principles discussed during the 2020 COVID-relief bill and the JumpStart Seattle spending plan, centering the need to begin pivoting the City’s efforts from acute emergency relief to long-term economic and community recovery as well as the potential to leverage other local, state, and federal programs and partners. The spending priorities are guided by four main principles: 1) equity (prioritizing investments for those most impacted by COVID and associated economic impacts); 2) coordination (ensuring that investments are coordinated with other entities to address gaps in service provision); 3) flexibility (being nimble and prepared to respond as needed); and 4) resilience (guarding against future uncertainty and positioning the City to make new investments as per Resolution 31957 – Jump Start Spending Plan).
Council will look to continue investments in the following areas:
- Vaccines and testing
- Food assistance
- Homelessness and housing services, including rental assistance
- Immigrant and refugee support
- Child care
- Small business, worker assistance and workforce recovery
- Community wellbeing
- Revenue replacement and financial resilience
Following this resolution, Council will work on passing an appropriations bill that goes into more detail on how the city will spend the additional federal funds. Mosqueda will provide a proposed calendar for the legislative process for the appropriations bill next week, including a robust community engagement process.