What is the American Rescue Plan Act?

    The federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law in March 2021 to provide significant resources to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts.

    How much ARPA funding will the city of Aurora receive?

    The city of Aurora will receive $65.4 million in one-time direct federal aid, with additional funding provided for programs related to rental and housing assistance.

    What is the timeframe for when the funding must be spent?

    Funds will be available until Dec. 31, 2024, and dedicated funding may be spent until Dec. 31, 2026.

    What kinds of things may ARPA monies be used to fund?

    There are some restrictions in place for how the funds may be used, as described below. Ideally, this funding should go to one-time projects or short-term initiatives instead of new programs to avoid any associated long-term operating costs. The funding also provides an opportunity to address deferred maintenance and enhance infrastructure. Finally, the funding offers a chance to develop regional partnerships to address challenges impacting the entire region. 

    Funding may be used for the following:

    •    To respond to the 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

    •    To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers

    •    To make up for lost revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency—relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency—to fund government services

    •    To make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure

    There are a couple of areas that the funds may not support. What are they?

    Funds may not be used for pensions or to offset losses in revenue that are due to reductions in tax rates.

    What opportunities existed for community feedback and how was the response?

    To help inform the city's funding decisions, we asked the community to dream big about their priorities related to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a community priorities survey and held four community listening sessions to understand community needs and solicit funding proposals. We received 990 survey responses through the online survey on Engage Aurora and paper surveys, more than 500 ideas on our open idea boards, and open-ended feedback from dozens of stakeholders in our virtual listening sessions.

    What was the community asked to do in order to provide feedback?

    We asked community members to prioritize items under three funding categories: Community Assistance, Infrastructure and Service Preservation. The community was asked to rank specific topics under each category based on what types of projects are permitted under the ARPA guidelines. 

    How were the projects ultimately selected?

    Community prioritization established through the feedback process helped guide the selection of projects that could be funded through ARPA. City staff presented priority recommendations from the ARPA community engagement process to the City Council in late 2021. The City Council further discussed the recommendations and finalized the project list at their winter workshop Jan. 29, 2022.

    What projects will be funded?

    Community priorities were presented to the City Council, which approved the following projects:

    Community Assistance

    Aurora Mental Health Support Campus, $7 million; New Emergency Homeless Shelter, $5 million; Behavioral Health Support Grant Program, $3 million; Ridge View Supportive Residential and Recovery Campus, $1.5 million; Cold Weather Sheltering Options for Homelessness Support, $1 million; Business Safety Grant Program, $3 million; Nonprofit Grant Program, $2.5 million; Small Business Grant Rescue Program, $2.5 million; Restaurant Assistance Grant Program, $2 million; and Virtual Library Expansion, $50,000,


    Fire Station Improvements, $7.6 million; Park Renovations by Ward, $4.5 million; Animal Shelter Renovations, $1.4 million; Council Chamber ADA Technology and Facility Improvements, $750,000; Technology and Equipment to Support Hybrid Work Environment, $750,000; and Conference Rooms with Hybrid Technology, $240,000

    Service Preservation

    Police Retention Bonus, $6,006,840; Aurora 911 Retention Bonus, $780,000; and Support to Essential Workers, $50,000  

    The City Council previously approved $10.5 million in funding for the following projects:

    Housing GAP Financing, $5 million; Unhoused Shelters, $793,299; Safe Outdoor Spaces, $250,000; Renovations to Aurora Day Resource Center, $200,000; Housing Match Software, $200,000; Courtroom and Detention Support, $1,052,785; Vaccination and Testing Sites, $813,333; Employee Furlough Payback, $896,935; Grant Personnel, $813,560; and Disparity Study, $500,000

    The remaining $5,279,054 will be placed in reserve for future projects that meet the funding requirements.