weather icon Clear

Come to rescue with your ideas

The city needs your help to decide how best to spend its allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds. Signed into law on March 11, 2021, ARPA established recovery funds to assist state and local governments in their response to the impacts of COVID-19.

Boulder City’s maximum allocation of ARPA funds is almost $21.8 million, which must be used to cover eligible costs incurred no later than the end of 2024. About half of that allocation was released to the city in July 2021, and the other half was scheduled to be released earlier this week.

ARPA funds can only be used to cover costs falling into one of four eligible categories: 1. responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts; 2. premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 emergency; 3. providing government services to the extent of reduction in the city’s revenue due to COVID-19; or 4. making necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

In the last three months, the City Council has approved using approximately $11.5 million of the city’s $21.8 million allocation on categories 1, 3 and 4. For instance, category 1 expenditures in the amount of $193,500 were approved for COVID testing and vaccinations, as well as Emergency Aid of Boulder City assistance. Approved category 3 expenses include $100,000 to cover youth sports and swimming pool entry fees, $500,000 for the city clerk’s budget, $300,000 for the municipal court’s budget, and $80,000 for the community development, public works and fire department budgets. And, finally, council-approved category 4 infrastructure expenses total over $10.3 million, including $6.4 million for water projects and $3.9 million for sewer projects.

However, approximately $10.3 million in unassigned ARPA funds remains. And the City Council needs you to come to the rescue by helping them determine how best to spend it.

There are many ways that you can make suggestions. An easy way is to speak directly to one or more City Council members or the city manager. Another way is to email some or all of them individually, or submit your email to arpa@bcnv.org. You can also make suggestions by going to bcnv.org/ARPA on the city’s website, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and clicking on “submit priorities and ideas here” link.

And there’s a scheduled Tuesday town hall meeting at 10 a.m. in the Elaine K. Smith Building set aside specifically for receiving public input on use of ARPA funds as well. Just keep in mind that eligible costs are limited to the four categories mentioned above.

By the way, it’s interesting to me that some of the incumbents are trying to take credit in their current re-election campaigns for ensuring that the city would receive its fair share of ARPA funds. Don’t be fooled by that claim. As any council member who’s not up for re-election will surely attest, none of the council members had to stage a hunger strike, threaten to sue the federal government, lobby members of Congress, or otherwise lift a pinky finger to ensure that Boulder City would get its fair share of ARPA funds. The truth is that although there was probably a fair amount of staff work involved, almost nothing had to be done to secure those funds except to have living, breathing citizens (and maybe a few nonliving, nonbreathing ones, too).

A better topic to discuss with the candidates for mayor and City Council, as well as the sitting council members who aren’t currently up for re-election, is any good ideas for using the city’s remaining ARPA funds. And whether implementing those ideas will ultimately translate into a reduction in fees, charges or taxes or a better quality of life.

Do you favor upgrading our Bootleg Canyon trails? How about new stand-alone pickleball courts? I don’t know about you, but I can think of a few dozen ways to spend $10.3 million.

And I can almost hear you salivating to share your ideas too. So, let’s all come to the rescue and make our voices heard while the invitation lasts. If we don’t speak now, it will soon be too late.

The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.

Rod Woodbury has resided in Boulder City for more than 40 years and is the president and managing shareholder of his law firm, Woodbury Law. He served on the City Council from 2011- 2019, including four years as mayor.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Electric vehicles not really friendly to environment

As somewhat of a gearhead, I am fascinated with the newest technologies relating to electric-powered vehicles, otherwise known as EVs. Tesla is thought to be the leader in these technologies. Still, others, such as Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Kia, along with the major car manufacturers in the USA, have been making significant strides in developing electric vehicles with outstanding performance.

Pictures of past tell many stories

I know this is an opinion column and what I’ve written here is less of an opinion piece and more of an amusing anecdote. I hope you’ll forgive me for that. It was simply too good not to share and I think it’s a nice, if mundane, example of why Boulder City is such a lovely place to live.

Water conservation efforts to thwart drought delusional

I was entering my junior year at Boulder City High School when Lake Mead reached its top elevation of 1,225 feet in 1983. Water rushed over Hoover Dam’s fully extended spillway gates with such force that even an umbrella didn’t keep us dry from the downpour caused by its rebounding spray. Since then, the lake has dropped 185 feet, including a 170-foot decline over the last 22 years during the worst Colorado River system drought in recorded history.

Guest commentary: Are fair elections possible in digital age?

I am wondering whether or not we should be paying attention to how our elections are being conducted in Nevada as to whether or not our votes are actually counted fairly. I suspect that the voting machines have a lot to do with the situation.

A retreat to push us forward

Succeeding in today’s business climate is not an easy task. It’s even more challenging for women, who have had to overcome decades of inequality in the workplace while juggling traditional roles of keeper of the home and family.

Keep ‘wet blankets’ out of water talks

“Blanket statements” are usually meant to cover wide swaths of a topic. A “wet blanket,” on the other hand, implies stifling everything it touches or, in this context, greatly limiting a topic’s discussion. If this column comes somewhere between one or the other, I’ll consider it a success.

Reparations needed from president’s supporters

What exactly are reparations? The Merriam-Webster definition is: “The act of making amends, offering expiation or giving satisfaction for a wrong, injury, or something done or given as amends.”

Human presence essential for meaningful conversation

For those I speak to in person, I am better able to receive kindness, love and meaning. The consciousness of the soul is available from our hearts. For those who are willing to continue to communicate in person, there can continue to be love flowing from the hearts of each person in any conversation.

Balance between work, school volunteering tough to find

Back-to-school is one of my favorite times of the year. I loved school supply shopping as a kid and now, as a parent, I love taking my kids shopping for their school supplies. Watching my daughter choose from the colorful folders with her supply list in hand is too adorable for words. I genuinely enjoy attending the back-to-school nights, meeting my children’s teachers and learning about their curriculum for the year. But guilt often overshadows that excitement when the teachers try to rope parents into joining the parent-teacher organization.