American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
Story County and the American Rescue Plan Act
Story County is to receive $18.9 million in total funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (also known as ARP; ARPA; Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds; CSLFRF; and other names). Funds must be obligated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. Story County government will receive 50% of the funds in 2021 and the other half in 2022. This timeline is set by the Federal government.
Throughout the pandemic, counties have served on the front lines in our communities. We have leveraged essential federal investments to help curtail the virus. We have taken many steps to serve our most vulnerable residents, including our seniors, children, unemployed, sick, and front-line workers.
This one-time federal government aid represents an historic investment in counties on the front lines of our nation’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The direct, flexible funding will improve the quality of life for the people living, learning, and working in Story County, provide for immediate recovery needs, and create a long-term investment in Story County’s future.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. It is meant to speed up the United States' recovery from the economic and health effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding package builds upon the CARES Act from March 2020 and its extension in December 2020. ARPA provides a total of $350 billion in assistance for eligible state and local governments to respond to the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United States Treasury established guidelines for State and local governments to use the ARPA funds to cover costs associated with certain purposes, including:
- Responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including providing assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality;
- Responding to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers;
- Strengthening support for vital public services by replacing lost public sector revenue; and
- Making necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
While funding can be used for items listed above, as stewards of the Story County funding, the Board of Supervisors identified the highest and best strategic uses of the funding to serve the citizens of the County including the following three areas.
Supporting the public health response – meet and address emergent public health needs, including through measures to counter the spread of COVID-19, through the provision of care for those impacted by the virus, and through programs or services that address disparities in public health that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Addressing negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency – responding to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.
Investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure – allows for a broad range of necessary investments in projects that improve access to clean drinking water, improve wastewater and stormwater infrastructure systems, and make necessary investments in broadband infrastructure.
State and local governments must take action to obligate the funds by December 31, 2024, and all funds must be spent no later than December 31, 2026.
The United States Treasury Department recently released the Final Rules for the American Rescue Plan Act, available at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule.pdf.