On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act was signed into law by the President. Title VI, Section 602 of the Social Security Act establishes the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, and section 603 establishes the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (together, the Fiscal Recover Funds). The Fiscal Recovery Funds are intended to provide support to State, local, and Tribal governments in responding to the impact of COVID-19 and in their efforts to contain COVID-19 on their communities, residents, and businesses. The Fiscal Recovery Funds expand the support provided to these governments over the last year, including through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). In general, this funding may be used to respond to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts.
Howard County will be receiving $63,261,464 directly from the US Treasury, with half of the funds distributed during the current fiscal year ($31,630,732) and the remaining half to be distributed a year after distribution of the first half of ARP funding. The fund expenditures must be obligated during the period that begins on March 3, 2021, and ends on December 31, 2024 with all work completed and funding spent by December 31, 2026.
Over the coming months, the County will engage internal and external stakeholders to assess the needs of our community and opportunities associated with the use of these funds. These discussions are currently underway and will continue on an ongoing basis throughout the grant period.
Four Main Eligible Uses of ARP Funds:
- To respond to the public health 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;
- To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers;
- For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency; and
- To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
Two Main Restrictions for ARP:
- Cannot be used for depositing funds into any pension fund;
- Cannot be used for directly or indirectly offsetting a reduction in the net tax revenue resulting from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation.