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DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines city leaders heard from community members about the city’s budget and how to spend millions of dollars in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) on Saturday morning. 

The city received $94.8 million in ARPA funding. In January 2022, the United States Department of Treasury released its final rules for how local governments can use the funds. According to the City of Des Moines, ARPA funds can be used for:

  • Support Public Health Response: COVID-19 mitigation, medical expenses, and behavioral health care. 
  • Water and Sewer Infrastructure: Flood mitigation, water treatment, and storm sewer improvements.
  • Address Negative Economic Impacts: Supporting impacted working families industries and public sector entities. 
  • Broadband Infrastructure: Investing in unserved or underserved areas with broadband access. 
  • Equity-Focused Services: Support communities and families to address health disparities and invest in housing/neighborhoods. 
  • Loss of Public Sector Revenue: A portion may be used to maintain general municipal services. 

The ARPA funding cannot be spent on replenishing lost tax revenue, pension fund payments, and general infrastructure improvements, according to the City of Des Moines.

The city has until Dec. 31, 2024, to budget the funds. According to the City of Des Moines, all funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2026.

City leaders plan to organize several public meetings at different locations to hear the community’s input on how to use the ARPA funding.

“We will have several of these opportunities to listen in from the public, answer any questions they may have about our budget, and talk about priorities for service levels at the City of Des Moines,” said City Manager Scott Sanders.

The next meeting is at the South Side Library (1111 Porter Avenue) on Tuesday, Feb. 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A third meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Forest Avenue Library (1326 Forest Avenue). To learn more about future meetings click here

Additionally, Des Moines residents can visit or call (515) 283-4540 to share their input.

The Des Moines City Council is expected to approve an initial ARPA expenditure policy in the spring or summer of 2022.