BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a bill that would provide additional oversight on how the city spends federal relief money.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated 641 million dollars to Baltimore to help the city recover from the pandemic.
“This ordinance just allows for more engagement of the council and partnership with the council and the administration to ensure we are driving as much transparency as possible to the citizens of Baltimore; the ultimate taxpayers,” Council President Nick Mosby, who introduced the legislation, said.
The legislation will mandate the mayor’s administration provide city council monthly reports, quarterly briefings and annual reports on how the money is spent and managed.
“To ensure that key performance indicators have been vetted and communicated to the council as well as laying out goals and objectives associated with what’s the return of investment associated with this particular money,” Mosby said.
The city has already received half of the federal funds and created the Office of Recovery Programs to manage the money.
So far, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced two rounds funding: 80 million for the city’s health department and 50 million will go to funding the city’s violence prevention efforts.
“We’ve consistently talked about the importance of not spending the money, but investing the money,” Mosby said. “Ensuring that in 5, 10, 15 years we can look back on this time as time we moved in the right direction.”
The city must commit all ARPA funds by the end of 2024.
The Mayor's office released the following statement on the bill:
“Transparency and accountability are core tenets of the Scott administration, and central to the mission of the Office of Recovery Programs established by the Mayor. Mayor Scott supports the intent of City Council Bill 21-0121 and is considering the legislation. The Mayor is focused on delivering regular, transparent updates to measure progress and performance for Baltimore residents.”