WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Mayor Vince Williams of Union City, GA, testified on behalf of the National League of Cities (NLC) before the House Committee on the Budget during a hearing on how the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) saved lives and the U.S. economy.
In his testimony, Mayor Williams highlighted how the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program included in ARPA provided every city, town and village in our nation the ability to be part of a national, economic recovery from the bottom-up, starting with the hardest-hit residents.
To watch a recording of Mayor Williams’ testimony, click here. Below is an excerpt from Mayor Williams’ testimony as prepared:
“From the start [of the pandemic], Union City followed the advice of public health experts, and state and federal rules. We knew there would be trade-offs. But we never thought we would have to go it alone. Pausing nearly every local economy, while ramping up response to a global health crisis, created the kinds of economic uncertainty that the federal government is uniquely authorized to address.
For local governments, the public health crisis was inseparable from the economic crisis. It laid bare long-standing health disparities that underlie why losses have happened in cities in such uneven ways. Households in lower income communities are at a greater risk of bad health outcomes, which worsen the effects of COVID-19. This is evident across metro Atlanta, where lifespans vary by as much as two decades based on your neighborhood.
Union City is investing in a greenway trail with ARPA funds. Why? A greenway is a sought-after amenity. It will raise the value of the community and encourage accessible, affordable ways for our residents to be healthier. As a determinant of health, our built environment must facilitate healthier outcomes so that we will be less susceptible to the next COVID wave, or the next pandemic. And the injection of ARPA funds gives us access to the capital our city needs to put contractors and laborers to work.
Imagine the transformation. Today, there are only two parks in Union City. This project will connect everyone in the community with a recreational system that gives families across Union City the opportunity to conveniently access outdoor recreation space.
My city is also spending to reduce food insecurity and to upgrade wastewater and stormwater systems.
Our municipal workers in every department are our heroes. For many of them, virtual work is not an option. Imagine for a moment your hometown government has just shut down. Who would fix the busted water pipe flooding your street in the middle of the night?
To acknowledge their work through the pandemic, the city also offered premium pay of $3,000 to eligible employees. This is not only a recognition of excellent work during tough times. It’s also an investment in maintaining a qualified and trained workforce for the future.”
For more examples of how communities are using local ARPA funds, visit NLC’s Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker. This online resource compiles information from local governments to offer a detailed picture of how large cities and counties are deploying SLFRF dollars. The tool tracks more than $18 billion in SLFRF investments across 152 local governments.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.