ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the launch of an interactive, public dashboard highlighting the strategic use of Howard County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Powered by OpenGov, the ARPA Dashboard offers residents and visitors the opportunity to learn more about the various programs that have been supported through this funding, including notable performance metrics and outcomes.
When the ARPA Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program was enacted, we made a commitment to allocate and utilize these funds in an open, deliberative and transparent manner. The launch of this new dashboard holds us to our commitment and supports our broader initiative to create an environment of expanded government openness and transparency.
Under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which was passed by Congress in 2021, the County received more than $63.2 million in ARPA funding. During these last three years, the County worked innovatively and efficiently to leverage these federal relief dollars to support and promote a strong, resilient, and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for Howard County. This included important investments in education, public health, economic recovery, housing, infrastructure, and community services. Notably, County Executive Ball awarded $10 million to the Howard County Public School System for educator and bus driver bonuses, which was lauded by President Biden in 2022.
The federal ARPA allocation was also vital in supporting Howard County’s efforts to address the COVID-19 public health crisis. More than $10 million in funding was used to support these pressing health system needs, including critical health staffing, COVID-19 testing kits, face masks, and other public health priorities. Similarly, more than $10 million has been committed to directly support county residents through housing, food, and utility assistance programs. Through these ARPA investments, approximately 1,500 households participated in housing and utility assistance programs during the pandemic.
Other essential ARPA investments include $5 million for infrastructure investments, more than $4 million to support businesses and workforce, and more than $2 million to bolster innovation and technology through broadband and cybersecurity upgrades to county systems and facilities.
The ARPA Dashboard is an innovative approach to transparency in presenting critical grants information to the public. This dashboard demonstrates the County’s commitment to fiscal accountability and transparency with our residents.
In 2023, the County contracted with OpenGov to provide timely information and enhance constituent communication. This new ARPA Dashboard is the first open budgeting tool to come of this partnership and is being piloted by the County in an effort to expand transparency and access around federal pandemic investments. Through this dashboard, residents can learn more about ARPA initiatives through Fiscal Year 2023 and explore performance metrics that detail the success and outcomes and different programs. To date, the County has committed more than 94 percent of federal ARPA funds and is on track to fully obligate funding by December 31, 2024.
As ARPA programs are developed and administered, the dashboard will be updated to highlight new county initiatives. For more information about the County’s ARPA funding and dashboard, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/finance/american-rescue-plan-arp-funding.