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What are some innovative uses for the ARP funds?

On January 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) released its Final Rule on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”).[1] This guidance permits flexibility in employing these funds to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and address its economic fallout. For example, the Final Rule provides an expanded set of households and communities that are presumed to be “impacted” and “disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic and broadens eligible water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure investments.[2] Treasury published a CSLFRF Fact Sheet on May 10, 2021, that lists the following objectives of the funding:

  • support urgent COVID-19 response efforts to continue to decrease spread of the virus and bring the pandemic under control;
  • replace lost public sector revenue to strengthen support for vital public services and help retain jobs;
  • support immediate economic stabilization for households and businesses; and,
  • address systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic.[3]

Recipients may refer to Treasury’s Overview of the Final Rule for examples of enumerated uses of CSLFRF funds.[4]

There are many examples of municipalities using or planning to use their CSLFRF funding allocations in innovative ways. A few examples include:

  • assisting businesses with re-opening by allocating $100,000 to provide personal protective equipment (“PPE”) grants. The municipality has also allocated $7 million in CSLFRF to a Rent Rescue Grant Program to bolster small and medium-sized businesses that were most impacted by the economic downturn from the pandemic.[5]
  • supporting small business resiliency by providing disaster loan and utility bill payment forgiveness. The municipality is also utilizing CSLFRF to support businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 with software upgrades, as well as digital marketing and strategic plan counseling.[6]
  • supporting the construction of a community of transitional shelters designed to provide housing services for homeless veterans using a $100,000 investment from the county’s CSLFRF allocation.[7]
  • providing the state tourism marketing authority with $12 million in CSLFRF to help tourism-related businesses recover and to promote health and safety for their patrons.[8]

Last Revised: April 1, 2022

[2] Department of Treasury, “Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: Overview of the Final Rule,” at 5, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule-Overview.pdf.

[3] Department of Treasury, Fact Sheet: “The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Will Deliver $350 Billion for State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal Governments to Respond to the COVID-19 Emergency and Bring Back Jobs,” May 10, 2021, at 1, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRP-Fact-Sheet-FINAL1-508A.pdf.

[4] Department of Treasury, “Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: Overview of the Final Rule,” available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule-Overview.pdf.

[5] National Association of Counties, “Counties and the American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Fund Small Businesses,” at Arapaho County, COLO, available at: https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/arpa/small-businesses.

[6] Id., at Collier County, FLA.

[7] National Association of Counties, “Untold Stories,” at Deschutes County, ORE, available at: https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/untold-stories.

[8] State of Washington Recovery Plan Performance Report, at 24, available at: https://ofm.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/publications/WA-CSFRF-Recovery-Plan-Performace-Report_Aug2021.pdf.