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City's COVID relief funds to go toward bonuses, infrastructure

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The El Dorado City Council has agreed on one thing regarding $1.82 million the city has received as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.

A portion of the money should be used for bonuses to be awarded to city employees who have been on the front lines during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, city officials have said.

However, how the bonuses are going to be structured will require additional discussion, council members said during a Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday.

In May, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, as established by ARPA, to provide $350 billion in emergency funding for eligible state, local, territorial and Tribal governments.

Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer applied for ARPA funding in June on behalf of the city and the funds were disbursed in July.

The mayor sent an email to city council members on Aug. 31, asking for their consideration on how to expend the funds.

She pointed out that the Union County Quorum Court had dedicated a portion of $3.5 million in ARPA funds that were awarded to the county the county to employee bonuses in the form of hazard-duty pay.

The county bonuses will be allotted for each day employees worked regular hours between March 11, 2020, and April 8, 2021 -- the period during which a State of Emergency had been declared in Arkansas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith-Creer also shared a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of the Treasury detailing how the COVID relief funds may be spent.

According to the fact sheet, the funds may be used to:

• Support public health expenditures.

• Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency.

• Replace lost public sector revenue.

• Provide premium pay for essential........

© El Dorado News Times

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