As part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Fort Myers Beach will be receiving a total of $3,553,046. Half of that money has already arrived. The feds have established very specific rules on how the money can be spent and they are all related to COVID.
At the town Management & Planning meeting Thursday the council will discuss how to spend the money. One option surely to come up is whether any of the funds can be used to cover the shortfall in money for the big three projects; Bayside Park, Bay Oaks and Times Square.
Eligible uses for the federal funds are broken into four categories:
1. To respond to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality.
2. To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the non-entitlement unit of local government that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work.
3. For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such non-entitlement unit of local government due to the COVID-19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the non-entitlement unit of local government.
4. To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
These four uses are split into 7 summary expenditure categories:
1. Public Health
2. Negative Economic Impacts
3. Services to Disproportionately Impacted Communities
4. Premium Pay
6. Revenue Replacement