City of Portland seeks proposals for COVID relief funds

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Aug. 4—The city of Portland is seeking proposals for how to spend an additional $11.2 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Residents, businesses and community organizations are invited to submit pre-applications by Aug. 19 with proposals for how to use the American Rescue Plan Act money, the city said in a news release Thursday. The city had originally set an Aug. 5 deadline for the proposals but extended it.

Those whose pre-applications are deemed eligible will be invited to submit final applications this fall. The federal government has identified eligible expenditure categories, and applicants must be able to show how their projects fit into the categories.

Categories include public health, the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 and infrastructure.

The city also will only accept applications for requests of $50,000 or more.

Portland wants to gauge where the community feels the funding should go and has a survey up to collect responses. It's expected to run through mid-August and can be found by visiting www.portlandmaine.gov/ARPA.

Survey results will be presented to the City Council's finance committee and the full council, which will approve the final allocation of the funds.

The $11.2 million is part of a second round of ARPA funding available to the city. Approximately $14 million of ARPA funds from the first round were used for community and city projects last year. The money was used, among other things, to add public restrooms, support mental health programs and provide grants to small businesses and child care providers.