Beaufort has $6.5 million coming in COVID funds. How should the city spend it?

·1 min read

How should the city of Beaufort spend $6.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the American Rescue Plan?

The city announced Monday that residents have until Dec. 31 to offer their ideas. They can comment via the digital engagement platform Civil Space, which the city often uses to gather comments.

The city already has some ideas of its own.

Caitlyn Creamer, an upper elementary assistant guide at Lowcountry Montessori School, closes her eyes on Thursday, March 11, 2021 as Dee Ann Sanders, an emergency room RN administers Creamer’s first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the gymnasium at Battery Creek High School earlier this year. The city of Beaufort is asking for input from residents on how best to spend $6.54 million in American Rescue Plan money.
Caitlyn Creamer, an upper elementary assistant guide at Lowcountry Montessori School, closes her eyes on Thursday, March 11, 2021 as Dee Ann Sanders, an emergency room RN administers Creamer’s first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the gymnasium at Battery Creek High School earlier this year. The city of Beaufort is asking for input from residents on how best to spend $6.54 million in American Rescue Plan money.

In October City Manager Bill Prokop unveiled a plan for spending the money on 17 projects, but it’s preliminary.

The largest amount, $4 million, or 61.5%, would go toward infrastructure projects aimed at improving stormwater, water and sewer. The second largest amount, $1 million, or 15%, would go for “pandemic impact grants,” including grants for affordable housing. The city is proposing assistance with housing, utilities, childcare, education and food related to pandemic impacts. Money also is set aside for police and fire equipment.

Residents can take a survey on their funding preferences on Civil Space that takes 5 minutes.

The City has received half of the $6.54 million, and expects to receive the balance by next October.

The American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law last March, contained funding for local governments to help offset revenue loss during the pandemic. Broadly, the funds can be used to buttress future public health responses; support recovery efforts in the community, including affordable housing; and invest in certain infrastructure needs.

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