County Countdown – April 1, 2024

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Every other week, NACo’s County Countdown reviews top federal policy advocacy items with an eye towards counties and the intergovernmental partnership.

Watch the video above and explore NACo resources below.

1. 9-8-8 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

NACo welcomes a significant announcement: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will establish a rule to shift towards georouting calls to the 9-8-8 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.  

  • What is georouting? Today, calls to 9-8-8 are routed based on a phone’s area code. Georouting, which is the method used for calls to 9-1-1, routes the call based on a caller’s physical location at the time of the call, saving precious minutes in connecting callers to local support.
  • Next steps: We urge the FCC to move this process forward as swiftly as possible. Check out this overview to see the next steps in the rulemaking process.

2. Government Spending Packages

On March 23, Congress passed the second “minibus” appropriations package, completing funding for Fiscal Year 2024, which runs through September 31.

  • Highlights for counties: Counties are pleased to see funding for Election Security Grants, over $10 billion for critical block grants to support human services, full funding for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), and other wins for counties.
  • The details: NACo just published a comprehensive appropriations hub breaking down the numbers by agency with an eye towards county priorities.

3. Artificial Intelligence Roadmap

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced its inaugural Artificial Intelligence (AI) Roadmap on March 18, outlining planned AI initiatives for 2024.

4. SAFER Grant Program

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced the opening of the SAFER grant program, providing $360 million to bolster trained firefighters in counties nationwide.

  • Program goals: This program aims to increase or maintain trained firefighters to meet industry standards, attain 24-hour staffing and enhance fire protection capabilities.
  • How to apply: Applications are open now through April 12, 2024. Learn more here.

5. ARPA Reporting

On April 30, annual Project and Expenditure (P&E) reports for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund are due to the U.S. Treasury for all counties that received American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) resources.

  • What is P&E reporting: These required, periodic reports provide Treasury with financial and current performance information on projects using recovery funds. For frequently asked questions and resources from Treasury related to this reporting, click here.
  • More on ARPA: For resources, stories and more on the American Rescue Plan, visit NACo’s ARPA hub.

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