The city previously put $920,000 in ARPA funds toward a small-business grant program called PfCares. At a Nov. 29 meeting, Pflugerville City Council held a discussion on how to spend the remaining ARPA balance of $270,000.
Discussion largely centered around whether to allocate the funding to area nonprofits fighting food insecurity. Specific organizations mentioned in the discussion included Saffron Trust, Backpack Friends and Circle of Hope Community Center.
Council Member Jim McDonald said putting the funds toward food security could bring several benefits to the city such as lower rates of petty crime.
“If we are charged with maintaining public health and public safety in our community, food security is central to that," McDonald said. "I think by addressing food security, we make for a safer, healthier community.”
However, some officials expressed concern that the one-time nature of an ARPA payment would not bring a lasting benefit to the organizations.
As an alternative, City Manager Sereniah Breland suggested setting up a program allowing residents to donate to nonprofits by rounding up utility payments.
"If we give a vehicle by which people donate, it's sustainable—this is just one time," Breland said.
Council took no action at the Nov. 29 meeting but will continue discussing a plan for the funding at a future meeting in January.
"I would love to discuss this further," Council Member Ceasar Ruiz said. "I think there's more caveats we need to work out before we just throw the money that way."