Bella Vista Seeks Public Comment on Use of Federal Funds

BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The town of Bella Vista, Ark. is seeking public input on how to distribute the $5.9 million in federal funds allocated to it.

According to a press release, the funds are part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and there are guidelines for what that money can be spent issued by the federal Treasury Department. The city also receives councils from the Municipal League of Arkansas.

The funds were originally only to be spent to recover revenue lost due to the pandemic; water, sewer and broadband infrastructure projects; and employee bonus.

However, the city said it does not own or operate any water or sewer facilities and cannot, by law, spend funds on such infrastructure.

According to the release, Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie will continue to focus on broadband improvements in areas without internet service.

The release notes that final Treasury guidelines have changed and now allow cities allocated less than $10 million to spend funds on any project with certain parameters for government service, including the purchase of land and equipment. according to standard procurement procedures.

City staff members presented a plan for the funds, which is shown below. The public will be able to give their opinion until Wednesday, February 9. Comments should be directed to [email protected]

  • Employee bonuses for non-exempt essential employees who worked during the pandemic ($600,000 in 2022, $600,000 in 2023). Includes employer payroll taxes and 457 matching funds. Amount: $1.2 million
  • Broadband improvements. Amount: $1.03 million
  • Phase 1 of the downtown police department remodel will be occupied by the fire department for administrative offices and living quarters when the PD moves to new facilities. Amount: $1.6 million
  • Purchase of land for the future fire station No. 5. Amount: $80,000
  • Purchase of an air curtain burner to dispose of residential and commercial yard waste. Note: Additional future costs could include purchasing the site location and staffing increases to staff the operation. Amount: $870,000
  • Cybersecurity improvements. Amount: $300,000
  • Toilets for departures. Note: This is an estimated cost anticipating partnerships with other entities. Additional future costs may include connection to sewers at some sites as well as maintenance of facilities. Amount: $270,000
  • Costs associated with moving City Hall to the Court’s current location in the center of the Village when the Court moves to new public safety facilities. Includes interior renovations. Amount: $300,000
  • Special virus filters for HVAC systems at the library. Amount: $10,000
  • Machine shed in the existing police evidence building to protect some police equipment obtained under the federal LESO program. Amount: $40,000
  • Contingency of the training facility in the event of a fire. Amount: $200,000

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