FAYETTEVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday moved more than $2 million in aid for programs and nonprofits using American Rescue Plan money.
Council members approved three measures providing federal pandemic relief money to two programs and for assistance to a group of nonprofits. The city was awarded $17.9 million in American Rescue Plan money.
The largest share of the money the council approved Tuesday will go toward a free workforce training program at the Fayetteville Public Library. The library will receive nearly $1.26 million to use for a job skill training program in the accommodation and food services, construction and information technology fields.
The proposal was developed in collaboration with the city’s Department of Economic Vitality, and the library will serve as a subrecipient of the city’s share of American Rescue Plan money.
Money for the program will primarily be used for staffing for one year and equipment costs at the library’s simulation lab, teaching kitchen and coding academy. Equipment includes new training modules for vehicles such as bulldozers and backhoes and laptops for the coding academy, as well as scholarships for 300 students at $825 apiece for a kitchen basics course.
The city’s Community Resources Division will use $500,000 to run a voucher program to assist low- to moderate-income families who have been financially impacted by the pandemic with child care expenses. Community resources staff will perform program outreach, process applications and assess eligibility, documenting program participation and processing monthly payments to licensed child care facilities. The program will be monitored and reported.
Additionally, the city will give six nonprofits impacted by the pandemic financial assistance totaling more than $324,000. The largest recipient will be St. James Missionary Baptist Church with $150,510. The Fayetteville Public Library Foundation will receive $89,016, and the Clinton House Museum will get $39,018. Symphony of Northwest Arkansas will receive $19,313; Mount Sequoyah Center will get $16,107; and Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society will receive $10,925.
The child care program was an 8-0 vote. The library program and nonprofit assistance votes were 7-0. Council member Mark Kinion tuned in remotely and missed those two votes.
Chief Financial Officer Paul Becker said the administration plans to bring about $250,000 in additional aid to nonprofits at the next council meeting Dec. 20.
In other business, the council voted 7-0 Tuesday to extend the lifespan of the ordinance regulating short-term rentals until at least Dec. 31, 2023. The council also approved an emergency clause with a 7-0 vote so the extended deadline will take immediate effect. The original sunset clause was to take effect Dec. 20.
The Ordinance Review Committee of the City Council reviewed the regulation twice in separate meetings in November. Committee members agreed to discuss other aspects of the regulation during the course of next year. Other aspects include what types of properties must get a permit from the Planning Commission, increasing fees, streets and parking requirements and proximity to other short-term rentals.
The council also voted 7-0 to approve a development proposal for 18 cluster homes on 2.67 acres at Oak Bailey Drive near Old Wire Road.
The homes are proposed as single-family dwellings that share common green space. Neighbors expressed opposition to the project over the course of several council and Planning Commission meetings this year. The council attached a number of conditions to the proposal touching on drainage, trees and vegetation and other neighborhood feedback with what the developer deemed feasible.
Kinion was not present for the short-term rentals or Oak Bailey votes.
The council voted 8-0 to hold discussion of starting a graffiti abatement program until Jan. 3.
The proposal would enable the city to remove graffiti from private property within 48 hours notice. The city already removes graffiti from the public right of way.
Council member Sonia Harvey said she wanted to present the proposal to the city’s Arts Council, scheduled for Dec. 21.
Fayetteville’s City Council met Tuesday and approved:
• A $407,185 contract with Johnson Controls Inc. and an agreement with the city’s Advertising and Promotion Commission to install a solar array on the roof of the Fayetteville Town Center. The commission will repay the installation cost, and the city will pay to repair the Town Center roof before installation.
• Applying for a $20,370 grant with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for a historic context statement for the University Heights and Haskell Heights neighborhoods.
• An agreement with South Cato Springs Holdings LLC to use $3.48 million in economic development and street money for infrastructure improvements associated with the SLS Community project and accepting a $3 million community project fund award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.