American Rescue Plan Act 2021
Counties, cities, and towns throughout Indiana are getting ready for the massive infusion of funds coming from the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion bill signed into law in March to provide additional federal COVID-19 relief to mitigate the fiscal impact of the pandemic.
One-fifth of the bill’s total funds – about $350 billion – will be deployed to state and local governments in two tranches, with half expected to come in May and June of this year, with the second a year after the initial allotment. An estimated $7 billion will be distributed to Indiana’s state and local governments, with the requirement that the funds must be spent by December 31, 2024.
The Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBOA) has already issued guidelines for what local governments need to do to prepare for this injection of funds in coming weeks. (See SBOA: Indiana State Board of Accounts’ American Rescue Plan (ARP) Information.) Those requirements include municipalities having a valid DUNS number and an active SAM registration to receive the federal funds.
In addition, the SBOA has prescribed accounting system procedures and documentation requirements for the use of these funds, as required by the federal law, which calls for a detailed accounting for the uses of the funds. Any unit that fails to comply with the provisions of the ARP shall be required to repay an amount equal to the amount of funds used in violation.
One of the first steps that counties, cities, and towns can take right now is to adopt an ordinance establishing a local ARP fund to receive the allocation in accordance with the SBOA directives. For a county, the ARP grant fund must be established by ordinance of the County Commissioners. For a city or town, the ARP grant fund must be established by ordinance of the legislative body. The ordinance should specifically list the uses described in the federal law and reference a plan that will be developed to provide the details for the use of these funds.
AIM Indiana has posted examples of city and town ordinances to establish a local ARP fund on its website, along with other resources for local governments, at aimindiana.org/arp. County government leaders can also find resources to access ARP funds, including an example of a county ordinance to establish an ARP fund on the website of the Indiana Association of Counties, at www.indianacounties.org
These funds, as outlined by the federal law, may be used for the following purposes:
- To respond to the pandemic or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;
- For premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work (as determined by each recipient government) during the pandemic, providing up to $13 per hour above regular wages;
- For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the pandemic (relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency);
- To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
If Commonwealth Engineers can be of assistance or provide additional information, please feel free to contact Theresa Criss-Hartwig.