*Authorize subrecipient grant agreements totaling $1,617,200 for the provision of services and computer equipment donations in support of closing the digital divide
The City of Portland ordains:
Section 1. The Council finds:
- On May 12, 2020, City Council passed Resolution 37487 which declared the City’s intent to centralize, guide, and coordinate its COVID-19 efforts, and its commitment to align its COVID-19 response with the City’s climate and equity goals.
- On March 12, 2021, President Joseph Biden signed H.R. 1319 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law, providing $1.9 trillion in spending and programs to mitigate the public health and economic impacts of the pandemic. ARPA Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (LFRF) were allocated to State, Tribal, and Local jurisdictions to support public health expenditures, address negative economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency, replace lost public sector revenue, provide premium pay for essential workers and invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
- On June 9, 2021, City Council adopted the City Budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22, which appropriated $40,356,035 in funding from the first disbursement of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (LFRF).
- On July 28, 2021, City Council adopted Ordinance 190525, which amended the FY 2021-22 adopted budget to accept the award of $207,895,373 in ARPA LFRF funding, appropriate $63,591,652 of the funds, and delegate authority to certain Program Bureau Directors to execute contracts and agreements funded under the program.
- In addition to other allocations, the amended FY 2021-22 budget allocated $3,500,000 in LFRF to the Office for Community Technology (OCT) for the Digital Divide Response project and named Elisabeth Perez as the Director authorized to execute contracts and agreements using the LFRF.
- The COVID-19 crisis accelerated the digitalization of economic, educational, and social activities and services, which is exacerbating existing, and leading to new, inequalities and discriminations. The goal of the Digital Divide Response project, a collective effort led by the Digital Inclusion Network community, is to address digital in-equities to generate economic and social benefits for Black, Indigenous, and people of color; people with disabilities; and seniors in our city.
- OCT staff co-designed with community two competitive granting initiatives to distribute Digital Divide Response project funds and resources responsive to community-identified needs. Community-led Selection Committees reviewed the applications received and are recommending that the City enter into subrecipient grant agreements with non-profit organizations as further described in Exhibit A.
- Twelve of the recommended subrecipient grant agreements include a grant award to support community-led digital skills training services in addition to computer equipment that the City purchased with LFRF. In accordance with Exhibit A, the donated computer equipment is intended to be distributed by the subrecipient organization to individuals who have disproportionately been impacted by COVID-19 and the digital divide and are receiving digital skills training support; as indicated, a few of the computers will be retained by a subrecipient to deliver digital skills training. Council must approve these equipment donations per Title 5.36 of the City code.
- One subrecipient grant agreement is designed to enable an organization or community group to purchase the necessary hardware, software, short-term network design consulting services, and training to build a local WIFI6 or fixed-wireless network. The network built is meant to provide secure, private, fast-internet access to a priority population at no or low-cost.
- In the Fall 2022, the Office for Community Technology merged with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) so that former OCT staff, operating budgets, and programs and services, including the ARPA LFRF Digital Divide Response project, have been absorbed into BPS.
NOW, THEREFORE, the Council directs:
- The Director of the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability or designee is authorized to execute agreements with the organizations and for the amounts and equipment donations described in Exhibit A, in a form similar to the grant agreement attached as Exhibit B.
- The Director of the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability or designee is authorized to approve funding amendments up to 25% of the original budget amount of any agreement covered under this ordinance, as long as LFRF allocated to the Digital Divide Response project remain available.
- In the event the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability is unable to execute a subrecipient agreement as described in Exhibit A, the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability is hereby authorized to execute a substantially similar agreement with a qualifying subrecipient applicant recommended by the Grant Selection Committee provided that the agreement is equal to or less than the original subrecipient agreement amount.
- The Mayor and City Auditor are hereby authorized to make payments on these contracts from the BPS operating fund budget.
Section 2. The Council declares that an emergency exists because the program funds must be obligated within required timeframes; therefore, this Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by Council.
An ordinance when passed by the Council shall be signed by the Auditor. It shall be carefully filed and preserved in the custody of the Auditor (City Charter Chapter 2 Article 1 Section 2-122)
Passed by Council
Auditor of the City of Portland
Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information
The Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) requests City Council's approval to authorize the Director of the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability to execute subrecipient grant agreements to fulfill the goals of the Digital Divide Response Project funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (LFRF). This legislation also allows BPS to donate computer equipment purchased with LFRF to the subrecipient organizations, who shall then distribute the equipment to individuals who have disproportionately been impacted by COVID-19 and the digital divide and are receiving digital skills training support. A few of the computers will be retained by a few of the subrecipient organizations, as indicated in the Ordinance Exhibit A, to support the design and delivery of digital skills training services.
Financial and Budgetary Impacts
This legislation has no financial or budgetary impacts. The subrecipient agreements in this ordinance are funded through LFRF authorized in the FY 2021-22 Amended Budget.
LFRF funds allocated to the Office for Community Technology for the Digital Divide Response Project were carried forwarded in the adopted FY 2022-23 Budget. In the Fall of 2022, the Office for Community Technology staff, operating budget, programs, and services were absorbed into the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability.
Community Impacts and Community Involvement
The Office for Community Technology (OCT) used a community centered approach to identifying digital inclusion needs in the community.
In FY 2021-22, OCT engaged ASCETA, LLC., a community engagement facilitator with strong ties in the community, to ensure the ARPA Digital Divide Response Project design was community-led. Through this engagement process, when asked what would most help bridge the digital divide for priority populations, community members indicated access to computing devices was still a high priority need, along with warranties, software, and accessories, digital skills training and digital services navigation support, and access to free or low-cost internet services. As a result, the initiatives use LFRF to support the distribution of computing devices and digital accessories, digital skills training, and pilots a local WIFI6 or fixed-wireless network to serve our community’s most marginalized members (those with intersectionality of known barriers to digital adoption). The initiatives have the added benefit of building capacity in trusted community-based organizations to deliver these resources.
In FY 2022-23, OCT launched the grant initiatives. A series of information sessions and open office-hours were held throughout the grant application process to ensure broad access by the community. Translation, closed captioning, American Sign Language interpretation were provided when requested.
Grant Selection Committees comprised of diverse community members evaluated the applications received using established equity-based selection criteria. The committees independently scored each application and deliberated to establish the funding selections.
100% Renewable Goal
n/a. Approval of these subrecipient contracts does not impact the City's total or renewable energy use.
Budget Office Financial Impact Analysis
These grant agreements have no financial impact. The grants are being funded with ARPA Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (LFRF) that were allocated to OCT in FY 2021-22. The funding has been carried over into the FY 2022-23 budget to cover the cost of these agreements.
345 Consent Agenda in May 3, 2023 Council Agenda
- Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
- Commissioner Rene Gonzalez Yea
- Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
- Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
- Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea