The New Braunfels City Council unanimously approved the allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act funding of more than $7 million for various nonprofit organizations Feb. 13.

The process for these funding considerations began in June 2021 and spanned a dozen meetings on how to best use the funding, Assistant City Manager Jared Werner said.

“At the very beginning of the finance and audit committees process to evaluate uses, that group really did focus in on this concept of responding to the public health and negative economic impact of the pandemic as one of the four major cost categories that cities and counties were directed to utilize ARPA funds on, specifically, really zeroing in on that second bullet point there, which is where the funding can be utilized by households, populations or classes that experience pandemic impacts, including disproportionately impacted communities,” Werner said.

Nonprofits were able to apply for consideration between May and June of 2022. The finance and audit committee prioritized capital projects and capital investments happening within the city, Werner said.

While $7.15 million was approved for nine total nonprofit projects, the city’s total allocation from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program of ARPA was $10.9 million, and Werner said the city has earmarked the remainder of that funding for potential uses: $500,000 for utility assistance, $2.5 million for public transportation and $300,000 for administrative use. The remaining funds are yet to be allocated.

“It is not being recommended to utilize a full allocation on this program. You can see that we've already earmarked half a million dollars for utility assistance. We've earmarked for $2.5 million for public transportation,” Werner said. “The idea of these funds is that these funds would be available to make any capital investments or operational funding augmentations that were needed to implement those, the top recommendations from that study so that was the idea. And those two kind of go hand in hand.”