Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced on Thursday that the City of Atlanta will be receiving nearly $171 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.
The ARP was item number one for the new Biden administration following inauguration in January. This was the bill that included those $1,400 checks but it also contained money for cities whose budgets were under severe strain following last year.
“The City’s allocation of American Rescue Plan funds will be used to address our most pressing needs, including significant investments in public safety and rental assistance for our residents,” said Mayor Bottoms. “Thank you to the Biden Administration for prioritizing the needs of communities across America.”
Much of the spending remains to be dedicated but Mayor Bottoms has already requested $5 million for community-based violence intervention programs and an additional $2.5 million for the purchase of additional cameras and license plate readers.
Bottoms has announced goals for uses of the other funds, including continuing core city services, responding to continued Covid-19 pandemic costs and addressing the economic impact of Covid-19 in the community.
The mayor’s office will be working with the City Council to hammer out the details on the more than $160 million which has so far not been specifically dedicated.
One-time funding will also be dedicated to the following issues related to fallout from Covid-19:
• Affordable Housing and Rental Assistance
• Economic Development and Small Businesses
• Food Insecurity
• Workforce and Youth Development
• Response to COVID-19 Emergency
Much of the funding will go to help shore up the otherwise difficult budget situation and in Atlanta, this could potentially mean some extra funding for police activities. The license plate readers and cameras are undoubtedly part of that effort.
The announcement comes the same week as the city announced it was officially moving to Phase 3 of its reopening plan following Covid-19. The biggest change in this phase is the permitting of events for 10,000-20,000 people.
There are still two more phases, when city facilities will reopen to both employees and members of the public. City Hall still remains closed to the public but Phase 5 will open for visitors. Vaccinations will not be required to enter facilities but staff and visitors will be highly encouraged to get vaccinated. Masks will still be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Additionally, those entering city buildings will be screened for symptoms and exposure.