New Bedford Finance Committee Approves ARPA Funding Plans
Update: This article states that the Finance Committee approved funding numbers that were read out during the meeting and attributed to the mayor's office. However, the mayor's office points out that the numbers given to the committee included an extra $16.7 million from Bristol County, and the administration did not see or approve the reduced figures, nor were they included in the Feb. 15 letter to the committee cited in the motion to approve. However, the committee has not yet voted on the ARPA funding from the county. The Finance Committee is expected to vote on a measure to resolve these and other issues next week.
NEW BEDFORD — At a remote meeting on Monday, the New Bedford City Council's Finance Committee narrowly approved a spending plan for $64.7 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds proposed by Mayor Jon Mitchell.
New Bedford is set to receive $64.7 million directly from the federal COVID relief program, plus another $16.7 million through Bristol County, although Monday's vote pertained only to the former.
While another $46.5 million in federal relief funding is destined for the school district, that department will finalize plans for those funds on its own.
The Finance Committee decided in a 6-4 vote to approve the mayor's amended plan for the funds, with six votes needed to pass the measure.
All 11 New Bedford city councilors also sit on the Finance Committee, although councilor-at-large Linda Morad was not in attendance due to a family emergency.
Councilors Naomi Carney, Brian Gomes, Scott Lima, and Ryan Pereira voted against the measure.
An earlier motion to pass a different ARPA funding allocation plan using the average values from all city councilors' requests failed 5-5.
The plan that was ultimately approved** is as follows:
Arts, Culture, Hospitality and Tourism: $11.9 million
Strategic Investments: $11.1 million
Neighborhood Stability and Housing: $11.1 million
Open Spaces: $8.7 million
Health, Safety and Wellbeing: $7.1 million
Small Business Support: $7.1 million
Wastewater and Stormwater projects: $4.7 million
Revenue Replacement: $950,000
**See the update for correction/clarification.