(MANHATTAN, KS – May 13, 2021) In the next few weeks, the City of Manhattan expects to receive the first federal disbursement check of $6.3 million as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) benefits for municipalities. A second check in the same amount is scheduled to be disbursed to the City in May of 2022, for a grand total of $12.7 million. The City will need to validate or utilize the ARP funds by 2023 and any unspent or unallocated funds will need to be returned.
“This funding brings opportunity to our city for COVID reimbursement and other relief, and we are grateful for the resources,” said City Manager Ron Fehr. “We are waiting to make spending decisions until we know more about what’s eligible under the program. Some priorities include recouping COVID-19 eligible expenses that have not been reimbursed with previous federal funds, as well as replenishing lost revenues and covering other eligible expenses that support the priorities of the City. We want to be transparent about the process. We will coordinate ARP decisions with the City Commission during public meeting, and as they are made, we’ll share them with the public. Right now, we just don’t have enough information to make those determinations.”
Spending decisions will likely take several months and involve input from staff and the City Commission.
Finance Director Rina Neal will manage the program audit to make sure the City remains in compliance with all federal regulations. Some past expenditures such as overtime hours will be eligible for reimbursement, as well as some projects associated with technology upgrades due to the pandemic and personal protective equipment (PPE). The audit of spending associated with the ARP benefits will take place in 2023.
“It’s important that we make a plan and continue to be judicious about how this funding is spent,” said Neal. “At every step of the process, we will make sure the City is in compliance with federal requirements.”
When it is received, ARP funding will remain in reserve until plans are finalized. The City will release details as decisions are made.