NEW BEDFORD — How should the city of New Bedford spend the $64.7 million it's set to receive in pandemic relief funding?

Mayor Jon Mitchell wants to get input from city residents and organizations before making any decisions.

Mitchell announced today that the city has launched a website and a public survey to find out where people think the money should go.

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The funding will come from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which President Joe Biden signed into law in March and which aims to provide resources to local governments for emergency pandemic relief.

New Bedford will recieve $64,729,754 in total from ARPA, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, which administers the fund.

ARPA money can only be spent on four main goals:

  • Addressing the negative economic impacts of the pandemic, including supporting workers, families, small businesses, and impacted industries as well as the public sector
  • Supporting the public health response including COVID mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and specific public health and safety staff
  • Replacing revenues lost in the public sector to continue providing needed government services
  • Investing in necessary water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure to improve access to clean drinking water and broadband and improve waste and stormwater infrastructure

According to the mayor, there will be other options for public input available to ensure that all residents get a chance to make their voices heard.

“ARPA has created a unique, generational opportunity for New Bedford," said Mitchell. "We need to ensure that this one-time infusion of funds has lasting impacts on the families and businesses of New Bedford."

“That is why it is so important that we hear from as many people as possible about new opportunities to invest in our city," he added.

"We need everyone’s help in making sure the sacrifices and difficulties of the pandemic are redeemed as positive initiatives that deliver long-term benefits for our residents.”

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