ST. LOUIS — St. Louis County is asking residents how they should spend the $193 million in COVID relief funds from the federal government.
People in the county can use a new survey and virtual and in-person town halls to share their opinions on the funds.
The survey asks how the county should spend "a portion" of the American Rescue Plan Act funds. The survey asks the user to rank needs like "mental health," "infrastructure," and "household assistance" with short descriptions.
The county will also create a tool to show expenses in the ARPA spending process.
“Hearing from our residents on what the needs are in their communities is critical especially as we talk about recovering from this pandemic,” said St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page in a news release.
The survey asks people to check statements next to these broad topics. Some of these subtopics include "Finding workers to fill job vacancies," "Access to and availability of suicide prevention services," and "Access to and availability of childcare and early childhood learning services."
There were open-ended questions for more suggestions under each of the broad topics. The survey also asks for demographic information. All form answers were voluntary.
It was not immediately clear how the county could confirm responses came from county residents.
The survey would be open for three weeks. It was available on the county's website under "Community Needs Survey."
Goals for spending
St. Louis County government put an emphasis on community outreach.
“We are intentionally working to make certain that we include opportunities for those whose lives have been disproportionally impacted during this pandemic,” Veta Jeffery, chief diversity officer, said in a news release.
The survey and town halls were meant to reach as many residents as possible. The county did not describe how the data and feedback would be used in determining the spending priorities.
Town halls were slated for March.