Helena community ARPA funding requests far outpace availability

Nolan Lister

The city of Helena received nearly $16 million in community requests for portions of its American Rescue Plan Act allocation, nearly twice the amount of funds available.

The city received in total only a little more than $8 million in ARPA money from both the federal and state governments, and if the Helena City Commission elects to fund every interim city manager-recommended internal funding request, only about $3.26 million will remain for external requests.

The city has already committed $1.8 million of that pot to Ten Mile Water Treatment Plant upgrades.

In an effort to determine the level of need within the community, the city put out a request for letters of intent to apply for ARPA dollars. It has received 43 letters of intent from 41 organizations with requests ranging from capital projects to staffing and totaling $15,730,482.

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“A lot of interesting ideas,” City Commissioner Andy Shirtliff said during the body’s Oct. 26 administrative meeting. “This is thought provoking.”

The city commission could decide on internal ARPA funding requests during a Nov. 7 meeting, but are expected to announce those decisions ahead of that meeting.

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