On Wednesday, Mayor G.T. Bynum and a Council working group presented allocation recommendations for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds at Council committee.
To aid in Tulsa’s COVID-19 response and recovery, the U.S. Department of the Treasury awarded the City of Tulsa an initial allocation of $43.9 million in ARPA funds. A second allocation of the same amount is expected in May 2022.
As Tulsans continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is assessing the best ways to utilize the funds for core services to benefit all citizens.
“In considering the highest and best use of these one-time funds, Tulsa’s safety and economic growth are the top priorities,” Mayor Bynum said. “I am grateful for the months my fellow American Rescue Plan Working Group members have put in to evaluating so many worthy projects, and believe the list presented to the City Council today will have a significant positive impact on the daily lives of Tulsans in all parts of our city.”
For the past five months, the ARPA Working Group comprised of Mayor Bynum, Council Chair Vanessa Hall-Harper, Vice-Chair Lori Decter Wright, Councilor Cue and Councilor Lakin, have committed to weekly meetings to review the City's ongoing needs and ensure the funds are being spent wisely. These funds allow the City to continue its community-wide response to the pandemic, maintain community resilience, and support highly impacted industries and residents.
"The working group's recommendations allow us as elected leaders to assist those most impacted by the pandemic, support public health, and maintain our natural resources,” Council Chair Hall-Harper said. “Whether the program fills gaps in mental health services, or we create outdoor destinations for communities traditionally underserved, these recommendations provide a unique opportunity to improve quality of life and the citizen experience. However, I recognize that our process needs additional input from community-based organizations and concerned citizens serving historically underserved and marginalized Tulsans, many of whom have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am committed to engaging in a process that includes and engages grassroots organizations and needs with the balance of undedicated ARPA funds."
The ARPA Working Group presented funding recommendations at Council committee for $50.2 million in the following areas: public safety, economic development and tourism, criminal justice reform, public health and human services, and public facilities and infrastructure.
To date, the City has already funded:
More than $27.6 million in ARPA funds remain for further allocation. Funds must be allocated by December 31, 2024.
Two public hearings to discuss allocation recommendations will be held at City Council Chambers inside City Hall on Nov. 3 and Nov. 17.
For more information about the City's ARPA report, as well as other coronavirus relief-funded programs, visit: www.cityoftulsa.org/covidrelief.