The City of Zephyrhills will receive about $8.24 million in federal grant funds — direct monetary relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding is part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law in March by President Joe Biden to speed up recovery from economic and health impacts due to the pandemic.
The $8 million-plus figure is based on the city’s resident population.
Zephyrhills is considered a non-entitlement city, so it will receive its ARPA allocation from the state’s Florida Division of Emergency Management rather than the federal government directly, according to a staff report from Zephyrhills City Manager Billy Poe.
All available information suggests there will be two allocations — one year apart — with the first allocation anticipated sometime after Oct. 1 of this year, Poe said.
Funds will be disbursed to the city within 30 days of the state receiving the funds from the federal government. They are to be used to cover expenses incurred by the city before Dec. 31, 2024.
The funding can be used to respond to the following:
- Public health and economic impacts
- Premium pay for essential workers
- Revenue loss
- Investments in infrastructure
Poe further explained how the relief funding could be deployed down the line, while addressing the Zephyrhills City Council during an Aug. 23 regular meeting.
“It’s pretty clear you can spend it on water or wastewater and broadband infrastructure,” he said. “There’s also an argument that you can spend it on parks and open areas; I just haven’t figured out exactly how they’ve made that argument, and so we’re looking at that, as well.”
Additional meetings will be scheduled to discuss and approve the allocation of funds to the appropriate projects, Poe said.
The city council unanimously approved the ARPA coronavirus local fiscal recovery fund agreement, and authorized the city manager to electronically sign the necessary documents.
Published September 01, 2021