Councilmembers consider how to allocate city’s remaining ARPA funds

During its July 13 work/study session, the Mountlake Terrace City Council once again discussed how it wants to spend the rest of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars.

The city was awarded just under $6 million from the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the council made two ARPA allocations earlier this year, City Manager Jeff Niten told councilmembers that roughly $2 million was left. However, he said, the council was receiving some money back from its two previous allocations after quotes for those projects came in under what the council had given them.

City Manager Jeff Niten

In March, councilmembers awarded $500,000 to the Volunteers of America Western Washington and $250,000 for a new asphalt truck for the city. The council will be receiving roughly $430,000 total in return from both of those allocations. Additionally, Niten said that the money designated for new police body cameras was also more than the actual cost, so the council will be receiving roughly $60,000 back from that allocation as well.

After the expected “refunds,” the remaining ARPA fund sits at just over $2.4 million.

“We are doing some great things for this community and certainly appreciate the federal government’s allocation of these dollars to make a lot of great progress,” said Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl. “There’s still a lot to do but the bottom line is we’re making progress and we’re doing good things.”

Niten gave the councilmembers a list of each item that the council had said they were interested in funding and a cost breakdown of each. Funding each of them would use up the remainder of the city’s ARPA funds.

Possible options for future City of Mountlake Terrace ARPA spending.

Councilmember SteveWoodard asked Niten to double check that no other funding mechanisms could be used to pay for any of these listed items before the council agreed to use ARPA dollars. Additionally, Woodard requested that the city manager determine whether the funds had to be allocated right now, since the council technically has until the end of 2024 to allocate these dollars.

“It should be done,” Niten replied. “The most impactful time that we can do it is while we’re working on the Comprehensive Plan.”

Councilmembers will review the itemized list and further discuss at a later date how they want to spend the funds.

In other business, Recreation and Parks Director Jeff Betz talked to the council regarding a three-year interlocal agreement with Washington State’s Department of Social Health Services for respite care funding. Respite care is temporary care provided to caregivers of a child or adult. Respite programs provide planned short-term breaks for families and other caregivers.

Betz said this agreement would allocate funding for low-income families to offer care and camps for children with long-term care needs.

“It doesn’t affect a ton of kids in our area, but our philosophy is if it can help a handful of kids get free camp, free care, free activities, then it’s worth it,” Betz said.

The three-year agreement will begin Aug. 1 and end July 31, 2026. The council is set to vote on this agreement at its Monday, July 17 business meeting.

In addition, councilmembers received a brief overview of the municipal code regarding the city’s utility discount program.

— By Lauren Reichenbach

  1. I was very surprised to hear upon visiting the library, that the funds to replace the HVAC and repair the roof has NOT been allocated. What is the hold up? I worked with the Friends of the Library for years and before the pandemic and the roof was a mess then. Now the HVAC needs to be replaced, which I would stress is important because it is a COOLING CENTER for when we have hot weather. Coming again soon in our neighborhood. I do not understand why the city does not consider our library most important when the community does. The money is there! Do not tell me that the city is considering tearing down and replacing the building instead, oh no, then you hit us residents with a huge bill. Come on now! People, we need to tell the city to save and repair our beloved library. Comment here and also email or call the city manager Jeff Niten at 425-744-6207.

    1. A response from the city:
      The city has published all of its plans for federal COVID recovery funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. You can find that information here:, or in the fall edition of City Happenings.
      Funding for the library roof and HVAC replacements was allocated this July. The city is still in the planning stages for that project.

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