American Rescue Plan Act
Jefferson County Begins ARPA Projects Planning
Since March of 2021 when the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) economic stimulus bill was signed into law, county staff and elected officials have been hard at work figuring out what was needed to help residents, municipalities, businesses and local non-profits the most in this continued COVID-19 economic recovery period.
While the CARES Act of 2020 provided some $100 million of emergency funding to the county for things such as small business grants, help for food pantries’ supplies, and public health needs, ARPA provides more broad-based relief, and must meet certain performance indicators, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion considerations as defined by the U.S. Government.
Watch: ARPA Update Video
March 23, 2022
Use of Funds
Rather than just focusing on emergency needs, ARPA’s Federal Government guidelines allow for spending in areas like: the offset of economic impacts to households, small businesses and non-profits; aid to industries greatly impacted; public health needs; necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure; and mitigation of economic impact to local governments. See the image below or the attached PDF for the eligible spending requirements.
“While we are truly grateful for this unexpected funding, it’s important to understand that ARPA won’t fix the budget challenges the county has been and is still facing.” said Don Davis, Jefferson County Manager. “The ARPA funds will give us a chance to look at some things we haven’t had the resources for in the past, including one-time assistance for projects and programs that can truly make Jefferson County a better place to work and live."
One major difference is that ARPA funds don’t need to be spent until 2024, although some projects may be allowed to continue into 2026 if under contract. This means that task forces can be strategic in figuring out what needs can be met best, while ensuring the process is fair, equitable, and impactful to the residents of Jefferson County.
How it Works
After extensive community and employee input was collected, the Board of County Commissioners approved priority areas for funding use and set up corresponding task forces to begin looking at various projects needed: Housing, Behavioral Health, Workforce Readiness, Economic Recovery, Public Health & Safety, Food Insecurity, County Services & Operations, and Revenue Replacement. See the image below or the attached PDF on those priority areas.
For each priority area, individual task forces were created in late 2021, combining county subject matter experts and department managers with community and organization leaders. These task forces are charged with considering a range of potential projects, which are first approved by the Board of Commissioners, studying those projects’ negative and positive impacts on the community, and ensuring it meets Federal guidelines for how ARPA funds may be spent.
As each task force begins looking at their priority areas and proposed projects, a process of working with the other task forces and obtaining County Commissioners final approval will be followed. Projects will only be approved once these actions are complete, additional funding has been explored, and the project is ready for implementation. See the image below or the attached PDF for the details on the task force project procedure.