Local News

$16.5 million remaining federal relief funds to be allocated

Despite the City receiving over $32 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), City Council approved a 2.5% budget reduction in December. So far, City Council has obligated $16.2 million of ARPA funds. At their February 15 meeting, Council will decide how to allocate the remaining $16.5 million. To view the agenda materials click HERE.

Staff has proposed an ARPA spending plan. Here are some highlights:

Public Health ($1.5 million): Projects include improvements to the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to enable the EOC to operate with up-to-date technology during times of crisis and emergencies. Other investments include purchasing an Emergency Portable Generator for the City’s disaster shelter at the Fullerton Community Center (FCC) and other critical security and communications equipment at the FCC.

Services to Disproportionately Impacted Communities ($2.1 million): The plan includes funding towards the purchase of beds at the Fullerton Navigation Center to address homelessness in the City. In addition, staff recommends funding for the Hope Center Project, a regional collaborative with surrounding cities to address homelessness.

Street Infrastructure/Revenue Replacement ($10 million): The street infrastructure improvements align with the City’s planned water main replacements (funded by water funds) for its major thoroughfares and arterial streets.

Administrative Costs ($1.4 million): For staff performing ARPA grant management, ongoing grant reporting as required by ARPA, annual single audit requirements, and general administrative overhead costs.

Other Projects: Other significant project recommendations include a $1.2M investment in Street Lighting Series system replacement for street lights no longer supported by Edison, investment in critical cybersecurity enhancements and IT network infrastructure, funding to support the City’s CCTV System to replace forward-facing security cameras at certain City facilities and downtown, and another City-developed Residential Utility Assistance grant program to provide financial assistance with delinquent utility bills.

At the February 1 meeting, Councilmember Nick Dunlap, who has advocated for budget cuts and spending as much as possible on road repair, expressed frustration at the ARPA spending plan prepared by staff. He called the $10 million for road repair a “token.”

“There’s no sense in voting on this because this isn’t what was vetted over the many workshops and Council meetings where we talked about the budget and spending,” Dunlap said. “We need to get much more of this money toward road and street repair because it’s what the community wants.”

Mayor Pro Tem Whitaker suggested bringing the plan back with items listed  in order of priority to the next meeting.

During public comment, resident Jenny Matti suggested allocating more money for crumbling infrastructure and City workforce.

Jane Rands asked that Council consider allocating additional funds to the library, as their services and staff were cut during the pandemic.

Councilmember Zahra asked staff to bring back a report on library needs.

The next City Council meeting is Tuesday, February 15 at 5:30pm. The public may only participate via Zoom. Visit www.zoom.us/join or call 1-669-900-9128 and enter meeting ID 978 4219 1797.

You may view the meeting live online at https://fullerton.legistar.com, on Spectrum Cable Channel 3 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

Contact Council at (714) 738-6311 or by email to: council@cityoffullerton.com.

Fullerton City Hall (303 W. Commonwealth Ave). Photo by Jesse La Tour

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5 replies »

  1. ARPA money was never intended as infrastructure funds or for long term programs. It is emergency money to get through the pandemic.

    It may certainly be what Fullerton wants to use it for… to avoid having to raise taxes or use existing taxes for the infrastructure we need.

    But it’s absolutely an abuse. Maybe we can get away with it… but it needs to be fully vetted. And it’s way late which makes it even less justifiable.

    Supporting homeless seems a little more reasonable… since we certainly have an uptick with the pandemic.

    There’s money coming with the Infrastructure law that absolutely makes sense to use for road maintenance.

    But better yet, just raise the taxes and get the road maintenance done. Local roads are our responsibility, between the state, city and county, not the federal government. Not that it’s the council’s problem… the problem is our own residents not understanding the taxation picture and what money gets earmarked for what. Police and fire are most of our budget. If residents want to cut police and fire, great. But if you don’t, you can’t just assume the money can magically come from somewhere else.

  2. “Local roads are our responsibility, between the state, city and county, not the federal government.”

    Then why have CBDG monies gone into infrastructure projects over many years? It’s only an “abuse” because you and your pals are addicted to raising taxes to pay for poor municipal management.

    • So tax dollars from the federal government are free? Good to know.

      Not sure what you mean by me and my pals. I can tell you that no one likes taxes. Nor do I want funds to be mismanaged. Obviously.

      But I do believe if you want something you have to pay for it and there is no such thing as a free lunch.

  3. It’s a not altogether bad list of recommendations. I would agree with Jane Rands that supporting the Libraries (and I’d add community centers) would be a good thing.

    Yes, I’ve heard plenty of complaints about Fullerton’s roads over the years, but while for a relatively well off person a library may seem to be an antiquated thing, I look at a lot of the talented young people at the parish, and I don’t see how they could successfully research anything or write successful term papers without _free_ access to the services available at good well-funded libraries.

    And I think anyone who’s been confronted by a $25 price tag for ala carte access to a single scholarly article that one’s found online on some subject will understand. Would that article be all that important? Depends on the circumstances, but these kind of ala carte bills add up and will guarantee that a lot of people will prevented from access to serious knowledge.

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