By Nicholas Johnson

Burien has received the first half of some $10.8 million awarded to the city through Congress’ latest COVID-19 stimulus package, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was signed into law March 11.

Since receiving the first tranche of $5.4 million on June 7, city staff have begun the process of identifying potential uses for the money. Finance Director Eric Christensen is set to update the city council on that process during its regular business meeting Monday evening, July 19, 2021.

Burien is one of 34 cities in Washington – 10 of which are in King County – that have been awarded money under ARPA. Seattle will receive the greatest amount, more than $232 million. Kent will receive $28.2 million, Federal Way will get $19.2 million and Renton will see $18.1 million.

All 39 counties have been awarded money, as well – with King County set to receive the most at $437.6 million. Of some $195.3 billion divvied up between states and the District of Columbia, Washington has been awarded $4.43 billion.

The money is intended to be used to cover pandemic-related public health costs, address the economic fallout from the pandemic, replace public sector revenue lost during the pandemic, provide premium pay for essential workers, and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

The money may be used to cover costs incurred as of March 3, and all funds must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024. The city could choose to use some of the money to hire a consultant who would ensure the city follows all federal rules and reporting requirements.

The city council is not expected to take any action Monday regarding the ARPA money. In August, the city will conduct its first internal review of potential uses of the money.