County Board Invests in Covid Response and Recovery

Published on November 18, 2021

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The Arlington County Board took action at its November meeting to set Arlington’s priorities for the 2022 General Assembly legislative session, provide funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for costs associated with pandemic response, and set priorities for use of the remaining FY 2021 budget funds.

“Our American Rescue Plan and closeout funding allocations focus on our continued responsibility to keep our community healthy and safe, providing funding for testing, vaccine support, and COVID response,” said County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti. “We also are investing in mental health care through the Crisis Intervention Center and childcare, a critical issue that the pandemic has revealed as more pressing than ever, as well as transportation and our employees.”

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding

The Board allocated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) $9 million for direct pandemic response over the next three years (testing, etc) and $20.5 million to tackle our community’s most critical needs.

  • Housing assistance, expansion of the Crisis Intervention Center (CIC) for critical behavioral health services, meal distribution for senior citizens, were among the priorities the Board funded. 
  • The Board also allocated $5 million to support capital funding to develop affordable child-care options in Arlington. 
  • The Board approved funding for a pilot program to waive iRide fare revenue for approximately 2,400 students, and SmarTrip cards for residents who meet certain income requirements. Funding was approved to replace gas-powered County leaf blowers with eco-friendly non-gas-powered leaf blowers.

The Board’s decisions last night were in addition to $2 million previously approved for small business support and $3.8 million for restoring libraries, community centers, and other important community facing programs.

An additional $2.4 million in unallocated ARPA funds were reserved to address other unforeseen needs to be determined in 2022.

Read the staff report.

Financial Results and FY 2021 Budget Close-Out

The Board also allocated unrestricted FY 2021 funds.  After meeting certain policy and legal restrictions and revenue-sharing with Arlington Public Schools, $20.4 million remained from the FY 2021 County General Fund budget to be allocated. The Board prioritized funding for compensation of County employees, support for Restorative Arlington, review of body worn footage cameras, and Sheriff’s Office staff support for jail and medical contract compliance.  The Board also left $14.1 million unallocated to address budget pressures in FY 2023. Read the staff report

State Legislative Priorities

The Board adopted the County’s 2022 General Assembly Session priorities. These priorities, which range from sustainability efforts and transportation funding to human services, criminal justice reform, and continuation of virtual participation in public meetings, are a result of consultation with Arlington’s commissions and advisory groups as well as staff and community leadership.  The General Assembly session begins in January 2022. Read the staff report.

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