LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Board of Directors approved spending the city’s first portion of $18.8 million received from the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the American Rescue Plan Act on Tuesday.
Following federal guidelines, the funding will support ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, as well as crime prevention, new firefighting equipment and lost revenue due to the pandemic.
“I appreciate the Board for supporting the resolution to direct these one-time resources where our city has immediate need,” Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. said.
Scott said Little Rock is now better positioned to handle the current COVID-19 surge that is hitting the nation.
The Board’s initial approval of $11.6 million was divided as follows:
- $3.4 million for critical IT infrastructure and cybersecurity upgrades
- $2.2 million for firefighting apparatus
- $1.5 million for community violence intervention programs
- $700,000 for COVID mitigation, vaccine distribution and community education
- Up to $3.2 million to fund a one-time bonus of $1,500 or $750 for full- and part-time, non-seasonal city employees, respectively, hired before March 1, 2021, including police and firefighter cadets who graduated training in July
- $605,000 to fund administration of federal aid
The city of Little Rock staff will continue to refine a plan for spending the remainder of the money, which will be subject to board approval.
Plans include potential funding for programs to assist residents with job training, after school care, affordable housing, broadband and wireless internet access in city parks and park facilities, equipment to support virtual public meetings, software purchases for the Procurement and Planning and Development Departments, drainage projects, and water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. Lead: The Little Rock Board of Directors has approved spending the first portion of $18.8 million received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act to help with COVID-19 response.