The City of Seward plans to use its estimated half of a million dollars in new federal COVID-19 relief funds to help recover revenue the city lost during the pandemic. That’s according to a resolution passed by the Seward City Council on Monday, which authorizes City Manager Janette Bower to accept the funds.
Under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, $350 billion was appropriated for state, local, territorial and tribal governments to use in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a non-entitlement entity, Seward’s ARPA funds will be distributed through the state as opposed to through the federal government.
Unlike federal COVID-19 relief funding approved through the CARES Act, ARPA funds can be used more broadly and over a longer period of time. Notably, municipalities can use ARPA funds to recover revenue they lost over the course of the pandemic. The resolution passed by the council says that Seward lost more than $1.6 million in sales tax revenue in 2020.
In a memo to the Seward City Council, Bower said that while the city does not know exactly how much it will receive through ARPA, estimates suggest it will be between about $500,000 and $600,000.
“With the uncertainty of how the economy will bounce back and for the sake of jobs and services within the community, administration recommends accepting the federal funds as a replacement of lost revenue within the General Fund,” Bower wrote.
The Seward City Council’s Monday night meeting can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.