American Rescue Plan Act
What is the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)?
On March 11, President Biden signed into law the legislative pandemic relief bill called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. ARPA is a $1.9 trillion economic relief stimulus package. This legislative bill allows for aid to American states, counties, cities, tribes, and territory in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts “on the economy, public health, State and local governments, individuals, and businesses.”
The law allocated nearly $350 billion for states, municipalities, counties, tribes, and territories. Specifically, the bill allocated $5 billion to Georgia state government and $3.5 billion to local governments in the state. More than $2 billion in relief was allocated to Georgia counties with more than $1.4 billion allocated to Georgia cities.
The ARPA bill is in the Interim Final Rule status with the Final Rules to be released (hopefully) by the end of September 2021. Local governments have until 2024 to have projects committed and until December 31, 2026 to have expenditure of the funds completed.
There are four main categories with approximately 65 sub-categories to spend the money within. The categories are:
- To respond to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.
- Premium Pay for workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency or through providing grants to eligible employers with essential workers.
- For the provision of government services on revenue loss due to COVID-19 in most recent full fiscal year.
- To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband.
There has also been misinformation concerning President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) 13950 and President Biden’s Executive Order 13985 and their impact on the legislative ARPA bill. In short, executive orders have no effect on legislative bills. Congress passes bills and appropriates monies.
Is Douglas Utilizing the funds?
The City of Douglas is beginning the process of determining how to utilize the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) allocated to the City by the U.S. Treasury, as established in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). These funds to states, counties and local governments are intended to provide support in responding to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19 alongside efforts to contain impacts to communities, residents, and businesses. The U.S. Treasury has determined Douglas’s portion of these funds to be approximately $4.6 million. The allowable uses of these funds are broad, as determined by the legislation and guidance from the U.S. Treasury and include:
- Replacement of Public Sector Revenue Loss
- Support for the Public Health Response
- Address Negative Economic Impacts
- Premium Pay for Essential Workers
- Water, Sewer, and Broadband Infrastructure
Within each of these broad categories, the U.S. Treasury has outlined a non-exhaustive list of potential eligible spending uses designed to grant wide flexibility for each individual community’s needs.
How will Douglas determine the best use of SLFRF Funds?
The City of Douglas will be working to determine the best use of SLFRF funds in our community over the next several months. An important part of this effort will be establishing an Town Hall meeting (date/time TBD) to provide input to the City Council on potential uses of the funds.
Once the final rules are issued within the next 45 days (end of September) GMA and CVIOG will be holding classes to help elected and staff understand ARPA lingering questions. They also will be developing the templates for program design, applications, legal issues and more.
General Time Frame for the Process
The time table will depend on the US Treasury, GMA, CVIOG, and Mayor & City Commission. Tentative dates are as follows:
- September 30, 2021 – Final Rules Issued
- October 2021 – Review Final Rules and Attend Training
- November 2021 – Develop & Finalize Plans
- December 2021 – 1st Projects implemented
US Department of the Treasury
SLFRF Interim Final Rule (PDF)
Georgia Municipal Association
U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)
US Economic Development Administration recently announced programs with ARPA funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. To find out more about these programs click here.