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LAS CRUCES CITY COUNCIL

City council approves guidelines for allocation of federal rescue plan funds to local nonprofits

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At its May 2 regular meeting, the Las Cruces City Council adopted guidelines for the allocation of $12.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF).

The vote will move 21 local applicants for the funding “forward through the process,” the city said in a news release.

The council authorized the city to accept the funds and begin evaluating applications for the funding last August but tabled the RFP process in February because of concerns about eligibility criteria.

Under the new guidelines, funds are expected to be awarded in July.

“These are huge, very impactful grants,” Councilor Johana Bencomo said at the meeting.

The original 21 applicants approved for funding are: Boys and Girls Club of Las Cruces Capital Campaign; Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico; Covid-19 Recovery Fund; Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico Guaranteed Basic Income Project; Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico/Bitwise; Equip Las Cruces; Community Options, Inc. Daily Plan It; Crosstown Flats; Desert Community Wellness, Cultivating Community Wellness; Doña Ana Arts Council, planning for artists’ living/work space; Downtown Las Cruces Partnership incubator; El Calvario United Methodist Church, Casitas del Calvario; Economic and Educational Recovery and Renewal via a Community Makerspace; Families & Youth, Inc.; Jardin de los Niños Flourishing Families Infant Mental Health Program; La Casa, Inc., facilitating access to health, social services and housing; LiftFund, revitalize Las Cruces small businesses; Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity, “Empower, a Community Collaboration”; Mesilla Valley Community of Hope housing risk mitigation funds; Ngage New Mexico; New Mexico Housing and Community Development Corp.; Oak Street Apartments rehabilitation; and outdoor recreation.

Those 21 applications will be reviewed for eligibility under the newly adopted guidelines, city Economic Development Department Director Elizabeth Teeters said. Any applicant deemed ineligible for funding will have the opportunity to meet with city program administrators to discuss their applications and potentially make adjustments, Teeters said.

ARPA funds were awarded to the city “to respond to the Covid-19 public health emergency and its negative economic impacts,” the city news release said.

The city will conduct a second audit of the process after recipients have been approved and the first disbursements have been made, Teeters said, adding that “the federal government monitors all federal funds and the use of these funds, which includes audits.”