Iowa City City Council plans to give $1.5 million in pandemic payments for excluded workers

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague speaks at the Senior Center during an Iowa City City Council Meeting on Tuesday, Dec, 7, 2021. City Council Members discussed the new redistricting plan for Iowa City.

By Emily Delgado, The Daily Iowan

The Iowa City City Council decided to prioritize giving assistance to as many excluded workers and individuals negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as possible.

The Iowa City City Council plans to transfer $1.5 million from its American Rescue Plan Act funding to Johnson County’s  Direct Assistance fund.


The City Council will need to vote on this before funds can be transferred. Currently, city staff can work with the county to design the program with council’s plan in mind Iowa City Manager Geoff Fruin wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan.

An idea that the council had was to use their $1.5 million to give a supplemental payment to Johnson County’s initial $1400. Council realized that while this would get more money in eligible adults’ pockets it would mean less eligible adults would be able to get any payment.

“I’m in favor of the path that still gets us helping as many of the excluded workers as possible,” Councilor Shawn Harmsen said.

Councilors discussed potentially giving two direct payments to those who qualify: a $1,400 payment from Johnson County’s fund and a second of $600 from Iowa City’s ARPA funds, totaling $2,000.


Brooks predicted this would mean fewer people would be eligible to get a payment.

“Having just understood that there’s a larger pool of people who would be eligible than I had originally thought. I guess I would be in favor of doing $1,400, just contribute our 1.5 million and having $1,400 across the board,” City Councilor Janice Weiner said.


Being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic was defined by Johnson County Board of Supervisors staff  to the council as people who were laid off, evicted, or excluded from the federal stimulus programs.

“For our program, to be eligible for a family of one, they just have to make less than $45,370 a year. So and that goes up from there, based on size of the household,” Allison Wells, said Johnson County Board of Supervisors grants assistant.

To receive the payment, eligible adults will need to fill out an application, and they will be placed in a lottery which helps the county distribute the payments.

For the beginning of the lottery, Iowa City’s $1.5 million would be used to give the payments out to Iowa City eligible adults.

Iowa City City Manager Geoff Fruin told The Daily Iowan in an interview that Iowa City staff will work out the mechanics of transferring over the money to Johnson County.

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