American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA)

ARPA-2021-SpotlightOn March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law, and established the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which together make up the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds ("SLFRF") program. This program is intended to provide support to state, territorial, local, and tribal governments in responding to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19 and in their efforts to contain impacts on their communities, residents, and businesses.

Van Buren County (the “County”) received $7,349,685.00 (half) of the $14,699,370 in ARPA funds in May 2021.  We expect the other half in May 2022.  Funds must be obligated by December 31, 2024. The Van Buren County Board of Commissioners (“BOC”) formed an ad hoc sub-committee titled ARPA Funding Committee (the “Committee”) to oversee use of the funds.  As part of the planning process, the Committee is now seeking proposals for projects for which such funds may be used.    

Process:  
Proposals may be submitted now through October 24, 2023. As projects are approved, the available funds will be reduced. All proposals received will be reviewed by the ARPA Funding Committee. Once reviewed, recommendations for all proposals will be submitted to the Board of Commissioners (BOC) for approval.  

There is no specific timeframe for the committee and BOC’s review and decision regarding any individual proposal.  The committee and the BOC will communicate results to agencies/organizations as circumstances dictate.

This request for proposals and the process described herein are intended to help the County effectively and efficiently determine the best uses of CSLFRF Funds; however the County (acting through the Committee, the BOC or otherwise) may, in its discretion, seek and accept formal or informal proposals and make determinations as to the use of CSLFRF funds outside the process described in this request for proposals, with or without notice to the agencies/organizations that respond to this request for proposals.

Requirements:   
All proposals must adhere to guidelines governing the use of ARPA funds. (U.S. Department of Treasury FAQ’s (PDF))  Specifically, proposals must identify which expenditure category the project falls within and must provide justification.  The categories are:

Category 1:   Support Public Health Response:   Respond to or mitigate the public health emergency with respect to the COVID-19 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.  

Category 2:   Address Negative Economic Impacts:  Respond to economic harms to workers, families, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector.

Category 3:   Services to Disproportionately Impacted Communities:  Services to address health disparities and the social determinants of health, build stronger neighborhoods and communities (e.g., affordable housing), address educational disparities (e.g., evidenced based tutoring, community schools, and academic, social-emotional, and mental health supports for high poverty schools), and promote healthy childhood environments (e.g., home visiting, child care).

Category 4:   (Internal County Departments Only) Premium Pay for Essential Workers:  Respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the county that are performing such essential work. Department heads must indicate by name all current employees on the county’s payroll that have worked at least 77 hours between March 18, 2020 through September 30, 2021.  Past recipients of essential worker hazardous payments are not eligible and should not be included.  For this category, department heads can simply email the list of employees that fit the criteria to county administration.    

Category 5:   Broadband, Water, and Sewer Infrastructure:  Make necessary investments in water/sewer infrastructure.   Make necessary investments to provide unserved or underserved locations with new or expanded broadband access.

Category 6:   Replace Public Sector Revenue Loss:  Provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the public health emergency.

More information from the U.S. Department of Treasury can be found here:
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds | U.S. Department of the Treasury