American Rescue Plan Act (2021)
At the June 15, 2021, study session, Council discussed the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. Overall, the bill will provide relief in many forms including payments for cities with fewer than 50,000 residents as a pass through from the state. The City of Bainbridge will receive $7.061 million to be received in two lump payments over two years. In general, the City may use award funds to cover eligible costs incurred during the period that begins on March 3, 2021, and ends on December 31, 2024. Final spending must occur by December 31, 2026.
Congress provided four eligible categories for use of funds:
- Support Public Health response efforts and economic impacts to households and businesses
- Premium pay for essential workers
- Replace lost public sector revenue
- Support investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure to underserved communities to work or attend school
At the meeting the Council approved a motion accepting the funds and also approved a set of principles around the allocation and expenditure of the funds. These principles are:
- Acknowledge that ARPA funds are one-time monies and should be spent in such a way to avoid reoccurring costs.
- To the extent practicable, funds should be spent to achieve long-lasting benefits and results.
- Activities or projects that promote fiscal and environmental sustainability will receive priority consideration.
- Activities or projects must be completed within the expenditure deadline requirements of ARPA.
- Activities or projects that would not be able to be accomplished “except for” one-time impact sums will receive priority consideration.
Lastly, Council directed the City Manager to present at a future Council Meeting specific projects, programs, or opportunities consistent with the principles adopted by the City Council.
The following is a collection of links the City feels are most beneficial in guiding and understanding ARPA funding and its potential uses by local governments:
Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) is a membership association representing public finance officials throughout the United States and Canada. It's mission is to advance excellence in public finance offering best practices, resources, and education. The association is made up of federal, state/provincial, and local finance officials deeply involved in planning, financing, and implementing governmental operations in each of their jurisdictions.
The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) is a nonprofit organization that helps governments across Washington State better serve their communities by providing legal and policy guidance on any topic.
The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan membership corporation that represents Washington's cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch, and with regulatory agencies.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is an organization comprised of city, town, and village leaders that are focused on improving the quality of life for their current and future constituents.
Throughout the funding process, City Staff receives questions about potential or proposed uses for the ARPA funding. These questions are referred to as 'queries'. Queries are grouped into sets indicating the order received and the timing for the presentation of answers. Responses to each query are posted below.