COUNTIES AND THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT (ARPA)
The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund) allocates $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county, parish and borough in the country. The fund is part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which the National Association of Counties (NACo) helped develop and strongly advocated to pass. Counties can allocate these critical Recovery Funds to a broad array of investments under five categories:
HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE ARE THE TOP THREE INVESTMENT CATEGORIES FOR COUNTY RECOVERY FUNDS
Share of ARPA Recovery Pans, By Spend Category
The U.S. Department of the Treasury required counties with 250,000 residents and above to submit a Recovery Plan Performance Report that details planned Recovery Fund allocations or expenditures. These plans detail strategies that will foster equitable economic recovery and vitality of local communities and ensure the health and well-being of our nation's residents.
From the 200 county plans collected by NACo, counties' top three investment categories include bolstering our nation's local health programs, strengthening our infrastructure system and ensuring that crucial human services are available to residents. Counties are also investing in areas such as housing, broadband, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
ANALYSIS OF RECOVERY FUND INVESTMENTS BY COUNTY POPULATION SIZE
Breakdown of County Recovery Plan Performance Reports, By Population Size
NACo has collected and analyzed 200 Recovery Plan Performance Reports. Fifty-two percent of these plans correspond to counties with between 250,000 and 500,000 residents. Counties with populations between 500,000 and 1 million residents account for 33 percent of the plans; while counties with over 1 million residents make up 16 percent.
COUNTIES WITH POPULATIONS BETWEEN 250,000 AND 500,000
- 79 out of 103 counties are investing in public health strategies that mitigate and prevent COVID-19 spread in the community
- 48 out of 103 counties will replace lost revenue to continue key government services
- 32 out of 103 counties will use funds to expand broadband access in underserved parts of the county
COUNTIES WITH POPULATIONS BETWEEN 500,000 AND 1,000,000
- 31 out of 65 counties are improving community wellness through expanded human service programs
- 24 out of 65 counties are providing aid to small business owners impacted by the pandemic
- 26 out of 65 counties are strengthening critical water and sewer infrastructure
COUNTIES WITH POPULATIONS OVER 1,000,000
- 19 out of 32 counties are integrating diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives into services that support historically underserved residents
- 21 out of 32 counties will use funds to expand local housing assistance
- 15 out of 32 counties are supporting local re-employment through workforce development programs
COUNTY COVID-19 MITIGATION AND PUBLIC HEALTH SPOTLIGHT
Counties protect public health through the operation of two-thirds of local health departments and are supporting vaccination administration through county operated vaccine clinics. More than 496 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the United States. Through the ARPA Recovery Fund, counties are investing in critical COVID-19 mitigation and public health efforts. Examples include:
ATLANTIC COUNTY, N.J.
Atlantic County is allocating $2.7 million for public health projects, including sanitizing public buildings and improving airflow systems to keep county workers and residents safe as COVID-19 case rates increase.
BELL COUNTY, TEXAS
Bell County is investing ARPA funds to support continued COVID-19 mitigation efforts and stop the spread of variants, including delta and omicron, as well as provide housing to residents experiencing homelessness through the Homeless to Housing program.
CLARK COUNTY, NEV.
Based on community input, Clark County is building out its public health infrastructure with a $70 million investment, targeting COVID-19 mitigation, healthy childhood environment efforts and a focus on the social determinants of health.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CALIF.
Contra Costa County is Investing $112 million in Recovery Funds to address immediate public health needs while also preparing for future COVID-19 variant outbreaks. With the help of these funds, the county is strengthening prevention and mitigation measures, expanding treatment and medical services and addressing disparities in public health outcomes.
FLAGLER COUNTY, FLA.
Flagler County is working to keep residents and workers safe from the spread of variants by investing $4 million in pandemic mitigation measures at public facilities, including installing barriers or partitions, enhanced cleaning efforts, expanding telework options with a $1.5 million network investment, giving residents alternative options for engaging with county services and providing expanded mental health services.
HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO
Gearing up for the winter months and potential increase in COVID-19 cases, Hamilton County is investing $24.5 million in Recovery Funds to strengthen the county’s public health system, alongside another $10 million investment to provide aid to disproportionately impacted communities.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD.
In an effort to avoid an uptick in COVID-19 cases and keep variants at bay, Montgomery County is investing Recovery Funds to address vaccine hesitancy rates. The county has invested $2.9 million into wraparound services for Latino communities, $1.7 million into the African American Health Program, $1.15 million into the Asian American Health Initiative and $3.6 million into health and human services hubs.
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CALIF.
San Bernardino County Is working to address the immediate increase in COVID-19 variant infection rates through a $138.5 million investment in wide-ranging pandemic response measures. Recently, the county delivered over 1,000 COVID-19 testing kits and masks to an organization of Black churches in the county to reach residents.
OTHER NACo RESOURCES
NACo's County Explorer tool provides county-level data and profiles that offer informative, statistical summaries. You can also access the data on county-by-county allocations of the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation. To learn more on how counties have begun investing in specific areas, see Counties and the American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Fund Briefs on Children & Families, Equity, Housing & Homelessness and Rural Communities. Also, explore our database of county ARPA Recovery Fund investment plans here.