Covid Recovery Funds Offer Plenty of Options for American Counties

As reported by American City & County, the US Treasury announced its final rule for the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) under ARPA. SLFRF totals $65.1 billion to be allotted on a per county basis with plenty of provisions that allow counties to distribute these funds as they see fit.

One of the key provisions will allow approximately 70% of counties to declare $10 million as lost revenue, which enables them to allocate that money for the following general government services:

  • Constructing schools and hospitals
  • Road maintenance and other infrastructure
  • Health services
  • Government administration and staff
  • Environmental remediation
  • Police, first responders, and public safety

The Treasury’s ruling also improves revenue loss calculations to include utility revenue and liquor store sale options for counties, clarifies eligible uses of distributed funds for capital expenditures, streamlines options for providing premium pay by broadening the pool of eligible employees, authorizes re-hiring local government staff, and most importantly given ever increasing cyber threats, allows recovery funds to be used for improved cybersecurity.

Additionally, the ruling increased the broadband speed threshold counties can invest in for households and businesses and expands eligible uses of funds for a variety of water and sewer related projects, including lead remediation, culvert repair, residential wells, and rehabilitating some dams and reservoirs.

The Treasury’s SLFRF funding rule will go into effect April 1, 2022. For a more in-depth analysis, check out the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Overview of U.S. Treasury’s Final Rule for ARPA Fiscal Recovery Fund.

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