Erie seeks new job to oversee $ 76 million American Rescue Plan

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City of Erie officials believe keeping tabs on $ 76 million in federal funds is a full-time job.

That’s why Mayor Joe Schember’s administration is accepting applications for a program manager to help oversee the city’s allocation. American rescue plan funds.

The position would earn between $ 60,000 and $ 65,000 per year, according to the city’s job posting on Indeed.com, a job site.

The city started looking for candidates for the post at the end of June. City officials said seven people had applied so far.

“This position is a temporary position that will last until the program is sufficiently closed around December 31, 2024 but could be extended until December 2026,” the announcement said.

“The position requires in-depth knowledge of federal, state and local regulations, particularly auditing, purchasing and labor laws. “

$ 262 million in federal funds in the Erie region

The move comes as city officials develop a framework for spending / fund allocations for the US bailout, the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill enacted this year by President Joe Biden to help recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Municipalities and school districts in Erie County, including the City of Erie, will receive approximately $ 262 million in ARP funds.

The money must be spent by December 31, 2024.

The city and other local municipalities are creating frameworks for the management and distribution of funds, which could be used for water, sewer and broadband projects; housing and financing assistance; broadband upgrades; help for small businesses; cover the loss of income of local communities linked to the pandemic; improvements to parks / green spaces; public safety and a host of other initiatives.

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Municipalities are not required to hire someone to manage US bailout funds. However, many communities across the country are creating similar positions to oversee the funds.

For example, the Crawford County government has approved the hiring of an ARP project manager, and cities like Huntington, West Virginia and Galveston, Texas are creating similar positions.

RAP funding allows beneficiaries to use a small portion for administrative costs. The new hire would be fully funded by the city’s federal funds and no taxpayer money would be used to create the position, city officials said.

Schember said the city continues to consult with Erie County Manager Kathy Dahlkemper and other county government officials on the best ways to distribute city and county ARP funds.

The county government is expected to receive $ 52.4 million from the US bailout.

But the city is moving forward in finding its own full-time employee to help administer these funds, Schember said, because “we have to be sure that we have to report everything correctly with this money and we have to make sure that we spend it properly.

“It’s $ 76 million, and the city in his lifetime never had such an opportunity,” Schember said. “We have to do it right.”

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Responsibilities of the city’s ARP manager

Kathy Wyrosdick, the city’s director of district planning and resources, said she hopes the city can fill the position as early as August.

A dedicated position regarding the city’s ARP funds is warranted, Wyrosdick said, because the program manager will ensure the city adheres to US Treasury guidelines and complies with the federal audit regarding ARP funding; manage project deadlines; coordinate the execution of contracts related to ARP grants and ensure that those receiving ARP grants comply with federal rules, among other duties.

“This position will be responsible for reporting to City Council (Erie) and the public on the progress of all projects and programs,” Wyrosdick said. “It’s definitely a full time job.”

Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, public policy, accounting or a business-related degree, depending on the city’s job posting. The city is looking for someone with “a proven ability to follow and manage multiple projects and processes simultaneously”, who is also “motivated, highly organized and detail-oriented”.

The job also includes a full benefits package including health care coverage and a 401k plan, city officials said.

Erie City Councilor Kathy Schaaf is supporting the hiring of a new employee to help manage the city's $ 76 million federal bailout funding.

City Councilor Kathy Schaaf said she supported the hiring.

“It’s a win-win,” Schaaf said. “I hope they find the perfect candidate to do this job. It’s important.”

Contact Kevin Flowers at kflowers@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ETNfleurs.

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