DETROIT – The city of Detroit is slated to receive $826 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) -- the fifth highest amount behind cities like New York and Chicago.
The first $413 million arrives next week, while the second $413 million next year. The funds need to be spent by 2024.
“The question is what kind of city would you like to see us build?” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in the first of at least 25 town halls. For more information and updates on dates and times of upcoming meetings, visit the city’s website right here.
There are rules to what this money can be used for -- No past debt, no pension funds and no past legal obligations.
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It’s designed to offset COVID-19 related financial problems. Duggan said $400 million of the money needs to be put toward budget shortfalls through the next three years and make up for money moved around during the pandemic. For example, Detroit pulled $50 million from blight and clean up when it became clear tax revenues were cratering during the pandemic.
This leaves $426 million to spend. The mayor’s team has identified six areas to funnel the money:
- $100 million to fight intergenerational poverty
- $100 million to restore neighborhoods
- $100 million for parks and recreation
- $50 million for public safety
- $50 million for the digital divide
- $26 million for small business assistance
Duggan responded to calls for two hours from Detroiters on what their priorities are. Residents wanted to know what can be done for those during the Great Recession whose Detroit homes were overtaxed. That’s something the mayor and council are working out.
Duggan then took calls from residents all over the city on where all the money should go.
He will be holding at least 25 public meetings to get input. City Council will hold it’s own town halls.
Several areas like transportation or affordable housing were not included in the mayor’s presentation -- specific federal monies are already set for those entities and are not a part of the American Rescue Plan funding.