Cypress Approves $11 Million in Federal Funds

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.
January 11, 2022 Updated: January 11, 2022

CYPRESS, Calif.—The City of Cypress on Jan. 10 approved the allocation of nearly $11.7 million in federal funding intended to recover pandemic spending, maintain infrastructure, enhance public safety, and promote economic activity.

The funds are a part of the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion emergency spending bill that was created in March 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vote to approve the spending plan on the funds was passed 5–1 with councilmember Frances Marquez voting against the agenda item.

“I believe it is okay to reimburse the city for the funding we allocated to help small businesses or restaurants,” Marquez said at the meeting. “However, I do not believe it is right to not ask the community what they want to do with this money. This funding is to help our residents of all ages get back on their feet as they’ve been through two difficult years.”

With millions on the table, Marquez requested the council put aside the agenda item until public input was sought.

While the council approved the spending plan, City Manager Peter Grant reassured there will be future actions for the council to consider how exactly the funds will be implemented into the community through specific projects.

“By voting on this matter tonight, it’s not like the checks are going to be cut first thing tomorrow or at the end of the week,” Mayor Paulo Morales said at the meeting. “This is just a general area where the monies are going for us to decide more financially later on down the road.”

With the city council approving the funds to be allocated into broader categories until they determine the proper use, the money is determined to partially cover additional annual losses that are projected to occur from 2021 through 2024.

In accordance with federal guidelines, funding must go towards replacing lost revenue, supporting public health, providing premium pay to essential workers, addressing negative economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and investing in infrastructure.

To ensure the city met these guidelines, a workshop was held in November 2021 to discuss the investment recommendations and ensure they were in accordance with the city’s strategic goals, according to the city’s agenda.

At the workshop, the city delegated the funds into different categories, including $2.4 million being allocated towards pandemic spending recovery for future infrastructure and facilities, and investment in pension trust.

Another nearly $7 million was set aside for the maintenance of infrastructure and facilities, including water service to a local park, a bicycle master plan, and a pump station located on Myra Avenue.

To support high value services within the community, the city dedicated over $900,000 towards causes such as non-profit support and one-time employee premium pay.

To assist businesses with recovery and promote economic activity, over $2.7 million was allocated towards business support, economic development program staffing, a drought response incentive program, and more.

Lastly, the city plans on spending $550,000 on enhancing and maintaining public safety.

Despite receiving $11.7 million in federal funds, the city discussed a $14 million investment plan that aligns with the goals of recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.

Cypress will receive the funds in the full installment of federal payment sometime in 2022 and is required to use them by 2026.

Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.