Sylva still undecided on ARP projects
Sylva is slated to receive a total of $880,000 in American Rescue Plan funds, but the town has not yet made any decision as to how it will spend the money.
“Smaller towns are being encouraged to wait and see if more uses open up with the final guidance from the treasury, which we are still waiting on,” said Town Manager Paige Dowling.
The federal government issued its interim final rule in May, assuring all ARP recipients that any uses allowed under that preliminary rule will also be allowed in the final rule. But Dowling hopes to see the final rule, as well as pending federal legislation, approve additional uses, such as general government spending and looser regulations for distributing the money to local nonprofits.
“There were a lot of nonprofit community groups that were impacted by COVID, and I would like to see Sylva stretch this money to have it reach as much of the community’s needs as it can,” she said.
Municipal elections also complicated the timeline — two seats were up for election this year, and the winners will be sworn in Thursday, Dec. 9, for four-year terms. The board will likely begin discussions in earnest after the new year, Dowling said, and continue them concurrently with the overall budget discussion. It’s “very possible” the town will have a spending plan by the start of the fiscal year July 1, she said, and in fact she hopes to have the plan finalized before then.
So far, the town has received half of its overall allocation and expects to receive the rest next year. ARP funds must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024, and spent by Dec. 31, 2025.