Infrastructure Update: Where Does The Money Come From & How Is It Used?
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
January 12, 2023
In my last article, I reviewed the process we are going through in our City to address our Infrastructure. City Infrastructure includes everything in our public right of way and everything that is underground up to the property lines. They also include: our buildings, park systems and transportation systems. Obviously, these assets are very expensive to maintain and replace. In Hallandale Beach’s case, we are looking for hundreds of millions of dollars.
I received a question after the article was published on what funding we are receiving through other government agencies particularly the Federal Government. As a medium-sized City with a population of 40,000 people as of the Census, we are not a direct recipient of Federal Funding. Cities with populations of 50,000 or more are. Those Cities and Counties are called entitlement communities.
Being located in Broward County, we are very fortunate to have a willing partnership to have dollars allocated from the Federal Government as part of formula grants. These funds include: Annual Community Development Block Grants, Area Council on Aging and Early Learning Coalition. We use these pass through dollars for our Hepburn Center, After School Program, Food Relief and some of our Public Works Infrastructure. On average these funds run between $200,000 to $300,000 depending on what is approved by the Federal Government.
Recently under President Biden, the Federal Government issued the Cares Relief and American Recovery Act Funding. These funds were also distributed by the State and County on a formula basis. The COVID-19 Relief Dollars were spent addressing the costs associated with COVID-19. Some direct funding was received by the Hepburn Center but the other funding for rental assistance was handled by the County. This was approximately $100,000. Our CRA actually did a program for assistance during that time to help renters.
The ARRP Dollars were the largest amount that was passed through the State. This was $19 Million Dollars. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, Nation League of Cities and Nation Association of Counties lobbied for months to ensure that every government agency was at the table and received relief. Our City spread the allocation over three years to address operational costs as well as staffing costs. This budget year will be the last allocation of relief.
People may ask, “Well doesn’t the City still get property taxes? Why would they use this for Infrastructure? During COVID-19 all revenues were down. Property taxes are just a portion of our revenues. They pay for our Police, Fire and General Employees. During COVID-19, our City was still operating. City Hall was only closed at one point for 2 months. Even then we had remote work.
The City had to harden all our facilities and set up remote working systems. In addition, the building was never shut down during the Pandemic, so we still had development services fully operational. We were also tasked with additional Code Inspections and the enforcement of COVID-19 Restrictions. Without ARRP many cities would have gone bankrupt, including ours. So, every penny of this relief fund was used to address what it was intended for.
The next question is, what about all the new Build America Programs? We have applied for and received dollars from the Federal Government. When elected officials use the platform against these types of programs they are doing a great injustice to their constituents. These dollars are our tax dollars. They should be distributed to address needs throughout our country and community. The transposition Program alone will transform our country. As an elected official, I have been fighting alongside my colleagues for years for a transportation bill.
To date, we have received over $1.5 Million in funding for our EV Charging Station for our Fleet. We have submitted and are anticipating $5 Million for the overall project through various agencies as a pass through.
Next week, I will go further into what we have applied for and are working hard to receive to offset the cost to our taxpayers. It needs to be noted that many of the Federal Programs had taken some time for rules promulgating these programs. Energy Development Block Grants are one such program. They have released a program for residential improvements that include tax credits. Cites too will be able to retrofit older Infrastructure.
I will continue in my next article with our Grants and pipes, pumps and roadways.
I look forward to continuing to serve and keeping our residents informed. As always, I am available for your questions, concerns and ideas to help make our City a better place. Please feel free to reach out to my office at: (954) 457-1318. On my cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or email me at: email@example.com.