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Boulder City Council on Thursday approved an almost $8 million adjustment to its 2021 budget, largely because of higher-than-expected revenue and federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The city is adjusting its general fund budget by about $6 million in additional revenue from sales and use taxes and ARPA funding.

It’s also adjusting some of its restricted funds by about $1.9 million with about $600,000 in additional revenue and nearly $1.3 million from Boulder’s current fund balance.

While Boulder has been awarded $20 million in federal coronavirus funding, the City Council on Thursday allocated about $4 million of it for immediate needs, a reserve for any public health-related needs and to restore services cut during the pandemic.

With the money, the city intends to restore recreation services, severe weather shelter funding, public art programming and neighborhood connections grants, according to information presented in Thursday’s Boulder City Council meeting.

In terms of some of the city’s immediate needs, Boulder will provide money to “bridge the digital divide” and provide Internet access to some of the Boulder Housing Partners sites. It’s also looking to provide assistance on utility bills, rental assistance and economic recovery for small businesses. Further, Boulder intends to use a small portion of the money to help purchase the supplies necessary to accommodate a hybrid work environment for city employees.

Considering the federal money can be used for a broader range of purposes and over a longer period of time than the first round of federal pandemic funding, Boulder is setting aside more than $15 million for longer-term projects. However, that money will be specifically allocated and approved by council at a later date.

The ARPA funds must be committed by 2024 and spent by 2026.

Boulder has designated public health and safety, affordability and service access and community and economic resiliency as its main focuses for the longer-term projects. The City Council previously expressed support for this.

This long-term funding could lead to expanded mental and behavioral health services, equitable access to city utilities and services in underserved areas of Boulder and planning for phase two of the city’s community fiber project, which would expand broadband connectivity in the city.

Overall, the City Council had little comment about the budget adjustment, primarily because it had a lengthy discussion about it in August.

Councilmember Mark Wallach questioned the move to spend about $800,000 of the city’s current fund balance on a fuel farm replacement project at the Boulder Municipal Airport.

“It just struck me as rather large,” he said about the amount being spent.

The city has been notified by the state about environmental risks with the fuel farm, Director of Transportation and Mobility Erika Vandenbrande said Thursday. A fuel farm, according to the Transportation Research Board, is an efficient way to provide storage and dispensing of aviation fuels to multiple users at an airport.

Vandenbrande said Boulder is looking to mitigate some of the environmental risks and to move the fuel farm above ground, which is safer for water sources and people and more efficient.

The City Council unanimously approved supplementing its budget on first reading. Councilmember Mirabai Nagle was absent. The second reading is scheduled on Sept. 28.