Survey on how to spend federal money

The city of Bainbridge Island’s portion of the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act funding is projected to be $6.6 million, according to figures published by the Washington Research Council.

In addition, Kitsap County is targeted to receive $72.9 million and the state of Washington another $4.3 billion, all from the $1.9 trillion in overall economic stimulus approved by Congress.

Designed to provide support for general pandemic economic recovery and cover government revenue shortfalls, the federal bill is clear about how the new money may be spent.

Allowed uses are:

*Responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency “or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality;”

*Providing premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work (premium pay is defined as up to $13 an hour, in addition to wages a worker otherwise receives, not to exceed $25,000 per worker);

*Providing grants to eligible employers with employees performing essential work;

*Providing “government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue … due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year … prior to the emergency;”

*Making “necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.”

Two uses are explicitly forbidden: governments from using funds for pension funds and states (but not local governments) from using the funds to offset a reduction in the net tax revenue.

As a business or organization on Bainbridge Island, how do you think the city should best deploy the potential funds to benefit the community?

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