Phoenix Has 3 Months To Spend Millions Of Federal Dollars

Published: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 5:37pm
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Blue Mesa Tacos was the only restaurant open pre-security at Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4 on Sept. 4, 2020.

When Phoenix received $293 million in federal coronavirus relief, the City Council allotted $75 million for programs it labeled as community investments. If the city doesn’t spend all the money before the end of the year, it must be returned. 

Out of that $75 million bucket, the council approved $30 million for utility, rent and mortgage assistance. On Wednesday, Deputy City Manager Jeff Barton said the city should easily spend $24 million to help residential customers before the federal deadline, but the $6 million set aside for businesses to cover city water, sewer and trash may not be needed.

“We’re finding that a lot of our commercial businesses they themselves do not have utility, city services bills because they are a tenant in a space and they pay their city services bill probably in their total of their rent they’re paying monthly,” he said.

Barton said the council may choose to shift that money to another area where it will be spent before Dec. 31. He walked through the different community investment programs and asked council members to think about where they might want to shift or add money.

Under the city’s utility, rent and mortgage assistance program, $12 million has been spent to fund 1,831 households while $150,000 has gone to 143 commercial accounts to help cover  city services bills.

On the business front, Phoenix approved nearly $16 million for various programs — including grants to help restaurants, micro enterprises and small business airport concessionaires. 

The city’s $5 million Small Business Relief Fund has spent $2.4 million supporting 225 companies. The $6 million Micro Business Resiliency Grant has spent $4.9 million supporting 1,200 enterprises.

The Restaurant Restart Program and Small Business Airport Concessionaire Grants, have spent their full budgets of $1 million each to support 103 restaurants and 18 concessionaires.

Phoenix pledged $2.6 million for Arts and Culture Grants and Barton reported that $2.3 million has been spent on 272 artists and 68 organizations.