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An ARPA Update!

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

First, the County:

BOS Meeting 1.11.22 (Item 7 and Tip of the iceberg for Item 60)

Last Tuesday, county staff presented a proposal to the Board of Supervisors to approve a one-time payout of $1,500 to certain county staff. This list includes the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the Law Enforcement Management Association, and the Sacramento County Management Association. Most of the job classifications listed in this payout proposal make over 100k a year, so they would be getting time off instead of the payout. It’s worth noting that the County Management Association is comprised of county department leadership, and many of them make over 200K salaries. The biggest question that comes to mind on this topic is, ‘what happened to our #1 focus on homelessness and housing?’

The county’s ARPA Recovery Plan Performance Report published last summer claimed:

the County is currently working to complete a comprehensive plan that will obligate funding to projects that are consistent with community and Board priorities.

We the people have yet to see a comprehensive plan for spending.

The Board already approved a phase one ARPA spending plan on November 2nd in which homelessness and housing was identified as the top priority of Sacramento residents.

Both the community needs assessment in June of 2021 and the most recent public polling of Sacramento residents on county budget priorities confirmed that our top concern is alleviating homelessness and investing in affordable housing. Yet, the first project put in front of the board in 2022 is this one-time payout for certain county employees.

A county CPS worker even called in to read a letter written by a number of social work colleagues that opposed this relatively small payout in comparison to the high-risk COVID environments they have been working in for the last two years.

Talking about this payout, another public commenter said, “what you’re offering here is eat crumbs”.

Considering this proposal needs a little more work for it to be an equitable or appropriate pandemic response, Supervisor Serna motioned to spend more time on this agenda item in a subsequent meeting (it should be on February 8th). County Executive Ann Edwards shared that they need to cover it in another closed session first before discussing again in an open session.

The silver lining on the horizon came towards the end of the meeting when county staff brought to the board a more comprehensive plan to address the focus areas for ARPA spending approved by the Board last November. Some health-related services slated to be funded by ARPA funds are health services with the Black Child Legacy Campaign, addiction support services through Wellspace Health, Project Roomkey funding, and additional staff at county primary care clinics.

The board had some outstanding questions about their ability to fund chambers of commerce and PBIDs throughout the county and overlapping city jurisdictions, so they will come back to discuss those specific sections of the ARPA plan on January 25th. The board approved the rest of the ARPA spending plan as it stands now, but additional funding might come from other buckets to fund the remaining chambers and PBIDs.

More analysis to come on this plan! Just in time for the newest ARPA Project and Expenditure Report due to the feds by January 31st, this plan should be posted to the county’s website by the end of the month.

SJPC will be publishing an ARPA post covering these updates further - it will drop early/mid February! Keep an eye out!

Next, a couple items from the City!

The following ARPA items were passed at the 1/11/22 Council meeting:

Item 6: Provides $1,150,000 for a grant agreement with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, Inc., which will fund: "...additional cleaning and maintenance, provide enhanced security, install lighting enhancements, and provide mobile analytics in the J, K, and L Street corridors between 7th and 13th Street..." (language taken from agenda - linked here)

Item 7:

Provides $800,000 for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, Inc. for "...pedestrian scale lighting, security services, and other enhancement the Old Sacramento Waterfront..." (language taken from agenda - linked here)

Item 8: Provides $1,300,000 to the Youth and Family Investments Program, and authorizes a grant agreement with Sierra Health Foundation: Center for Health Program Management in an amount not to exceed $1,300,000. This money will be used for:

"Youth PopUps [which] meet a critical need, that has been exacerbated by COVID-19, providing young people from traditionally under- resourced neighborhoods with safe spaces to engage with trusted adults and their peers in social and educational activities on the weekends." (agenda linked here)

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