Call to Action: Tell Camden Board of Commissioners that ARPA Funds Must Support Struggling Families and Businesses
Camden County received $10 million from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to fight the pandemic and support struggling families and businesses.
These ARPA funds are supposed to address the urgent concerns of everyday people: housing, childcare, early learning, transportation, health and mental health services, utilities, and essential public and social services.
In June 2021, the NAACP Camden County Branch sent a memo to the Camden County Board of Commissioners with practical, community-based suggestions for effective use of these funds.
None of these recommendations is reflected in the FY2023 Budget proposed by the County. They plan to spend $6.4 million in ARPA funds on building improvements, vehicles, equipment, and expenses that are unrelated to the pandemic and outside the guidelines for these special funds. Only $20,000 total will go to social services, and this is limited to paying Coastal Regional Coaches to provide transportation and to support Camden House (the local domestic violence shelter).
ARPA funds are not intended for “business-as-usual” government expenses unless there has been a loss of revenue due to the pandemic—which the County has not demonstrated.
Eligible capital expenditures are items like affordable housing, childcare facilities, schools, and hospitals.
The County Commissioners did not seek advance public input from residents about how the ARPA funds should be spent, but you can let them know what you think of their plan at a public hearing on Thursday, June 16th at 6pm in the Commission Chambers on the 2nd Floor of the Government Services Complex located at 200 East 4th Street in Woodbine.
Information about participating in a public hearing can be found on the Camden County website.
Send your concerns in advance and plan to attend on June 16th in-person or watch online from the link to the YouTube channel here.