The city of Peoria is about to see some financial relief come its way to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state of Arizona has received $441 million in direct, flexible funding to be disbursed to cities, towns and counties that did not receive direct federal funding thanks to the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.
Of that, Peoria is due $20.2 million, which will be paid back to the city in reimbursements.
Officials say this will help fill the gap that a 15.3% decrease in sales taxes is expected to create in fiscal year 2021.
City council will have final approval on how the funds will be distributed at the next regular meeting, June 16.
Mayor Cathy Carlat said with a total drop-off in revenues, she is really appreciative these funds came to Peoria during this time of need.
This means funds could be made available for air filtration systems, plexiglass and other PPE, that will bring back consumer confidence, she said.
“We want to make sure some of our business community can reap some of these benefits. They don’t know what their new normal is going to be. Everybody is dealing with, ‘how can we get our consumers to have enough confidence to come back into the marketplace again?’ If there are ways to show the public they can come out again, it will shorten the recession and let those businesses do business again,” she said. “It is the smallest businesses that have suffered the most, and these funds will directly help them, when they need it, where they need it.”
Funds are expected to go to a number of needs, including the vulnerable population in Peoria. This could include rental/utility assistance, meal programs, student support in the form of WiFi hotspots, and laptops for economically disadvantaged student-age citizens.
First responders will also be recipients and funding could go to paramedicine, technology, communication, alternative response vehicles, public safety vehicles, ambulance service and criminal/traffic prevention programs.
City Manager Jeff Tyne said Peoria’s first responders are feeling it the most, and are directly involved with residents.
“Funds could allow us to provide a more holistic health experience for our residents through our city’s fire-medical responses. Our vulnerable population, who are suffering from illnesses, or seniors who would be better served if we went to them as opposed to a place where they would be more vulnerable,” Mr. Tyne said. “We will explore these and other options that we can apply short-term during this pandemic.”
Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697, email@example.com, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.