Since March of 2021 when the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) economic stimulus bill was signed into law, Cumberland 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 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.
Timing of Funds
Funds are to be distributed and need to be obligated through the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. Cumberland County government received 50% of the funds in 2021 and the other half in 2022. The timing was laid out by the federal government.
Current Guidance for Use of the Funds
The mission of the Cumberland County Compliance and Audit manager is to support our community through the distribution of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) as authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), by providing stewardship, fiscal oversight, and compliance with federal regulations from ARPA.
Cumberland County along with its subrecipients are the first line of defense and is responsible for ensuring the SLFRF awards are not used for ineligible purposes, and there is no fraud, waste, or abuse associated with their SLFRF award.
Many SLFRF-funded projects respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and meet urgent community needs. Swift and effective implementation is vital, and recipients must balance facilitating simple and rapid program access widely across the community and maintaining a robust documentation and compliance regime
US Department of Treasury
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, has provided just over $57 million to Cumberland County. The Department of Treasury is responsible for the award and oversight of ARPA funds to the County, their website offers multiple resources regarding eligibility, spending, and reporting requirements.
ARPA Application for Public Funding
Further guidance on the use of ARPA funds is in the links above; but broadly, these funds can be spent in the following categories:
- Supporting the public health response
- Addressing negative economic impacts
- Replacing public sector revenue loss
- Premium pay for essential workers
- Water, sewer, broadband infrastructure
Funds can generally not be used for:
- Reducing taxes
- Depositing extraordinary funds into a pension account
- Certain non-federal matches
- Debt Service
- Legal Settlements
- Rainy Day Funds
- Infrastructure outside of water/sewer/broadband, or revenue loss to infrastructure projects
- General economic development or workforce development unless related to the pandemic.