In the midst of the community’s response to COVID-19 and its impacts, the City convened a group of residents, businesses owners, and others to advise the City Council and City Administration on the most effective way to use allocated Federal and State funds received via the CARES Act. This advisory panel followed a series of community conversations, focus group meetings, stakeholder interviews, and public hearings. Through these efforts, the City supported local small businesses, helped residents avoid eviction, supported virtual learning, provided access to bilingual information regarding COVID-19, and much more.
American Rescue Plan Act
Recent approval of the American Rescue Plan Act once again provides significant Federal support to assist our community—this time, with our recovery and to help build resiliency for residents, households, small businesses, neighborhoods, and our City.
As in the case of determining how best to use the allocated CARES Act funds, the Council is seeking advice from it residents, business owners, and institutions. This most recent effort, Star City Strong— Phase 2, has included interviews with key stakeholders and a number of focus group meetings facilitated by Council Members.
The City is now seeking applications from interested residents, business owners, and those affiliated with local organizations and institutions to serve on an advisory panel. The panel will consist of about 40 folks and will meet several times between July and September. The work of this panel will be instrumental in helping the Council and Administration determine how best to invest the more than $64 million to be received by the City over the next two years. Applications may be completed via the City’s website and are due by 5 p.m. this Friday, July 16.
For those not interested or able to serve on the advisory panel, there will be other opportunities for you to get involved and to help the panel and the Council. Two virtual town hall meetings will be conducted prior to the convening of the advisory panel. The first will take place at Noon on July 20 and the second at 6 p.m. on July 21. Those interested in participating in either of the meetings must register with the City Manager’s Office by sending an email to angela.o’[email protected] by 5 p.m. on July 19 or, if you simply want to view the meetings, they will be livestreamed on the City’s Facebook page. The input provided at these meetings will be combined with the information gained through the interviews and focus groups, and with background materials provided by City staff to serve as foundational information for the advisory panel.
Meetings of the advisory panel will be accessible to the public with agendas and minutes posted on the City’s website. The panel’s recommendations will be presented to Council at a public meeting in September and also posted on the City’s website.
We have the opportunity to greatly assist the community in its recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, and to do so in a manner that makes our community more resilient to similar shocks and disruptions in the future. Please consider joining in the discussion in one of the ways noted.
-- Bob Cowell