Vienna schedules public hearing on how to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds

The Town of Vienna is receiving a huge tranche of money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), but it’s still unclear where that funding is going.

The Vienna Town Council formally accepted $8.5 million in ARPA funding this year on Monday (July 12). The town is expected to get an identical amount in funding next year.

Marion Serfass, the town’s director of finance, told Tysons Reporter that Vienna staff will be working over the next few months to gather public input to help determine where that funding would be best utilized.

The town will hold a public hearing on Aug. 30 to collect feedback on what issues locals would like to see that funding put toward, and the town council will have a conference on Sept. 20 to pin down a definitive list of where the $8.5 million is going.

Serfass told the town council on Monday that the advice she has received in conferences about the funding is to “take your time, be deliberate, and look at transforming projects.”

Serfass said her office is currently working with the town attorney to pin down what is or isn’t eligible for ARPA funding. The town could also get ideas, she said, for how to proceed from watching where other localities spend their ARPA funds.

Nearby, Alexandria received $29.8 million in its first tranche. The city spent the most — $4 million — on rental assistance and other emergency assistance programs. $3.7 million went to stormwater repairs and $3 million to a pilot program to guarantee a minimum income for city residents.

Looking long-term, Serfass told the town council that there’s no set deadline to spend the funding, giving Vienna room to invest in longer-term programs without putting next year’s tranche of funding at risk.

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