The Birmingham City Council has unanimously approved a plan to spend the first round of the city’s American Rescue Plan funds it has received to help recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The $35 million plan will fund public safety, community and economic development, transportation, and city employees.
According to the Mayor’s Office, earlier this year Birmingham was allocated $141.3 million in Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury. The first installment, $70,636,089, was received in May 2021. About $17.5 million of that was used to support city employees’ continued service during the COVID-19 pandemic and $18 million filled the budget gap for the Birmingham Xpress bus rapid transit project due to the rise in construction costs.
This month, the Council passed a measure allocating the remaining $35 million.
How will they spend the funds? Here is a line -item breakdown:
Critical workers: $650,000-$900,000
2020 calendar year vacation buyout for fire, police, and public works employees
Community-based public safety: $3 million
- Hospital-linked violence intervention program
- Community-based conflict resolution
Community & economic development: $17 million
- COVID response for existing small businesses
- Microloans for new small business starts
- Site acquisition and remediation
- Attracting conferences and conventions
- Reimagining shuttered schools
- Affordable home ownership
- Homelessness support
- District-specific and city-wide councilor projects
Transportation: $7.5 million
- Expansion of Birmingham On Demand public mobility program supported by Via
- Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority
City of Birmingham operational and facilities funding support for World Games: $5 million
- Security upgrades and critical repairs to facilities operational equipment
Capacity: $1.3 million
- Competitive grants
- Equity, impact, and community engagement
- Accounting compliance
- Capital projects management
The city will receive the second half of the rescue funds, another $70 million, in May 2022.
Mayor Randall Woodfin lauded the Council’s plan and stressed the importance of working together.
“This is an important step in our recovery from the global pandemic. Together, with the council, our city and its residents are being positioned to thrive,” he said in a statement.