Counties and the American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Fund: Small Businesses
THE RECOVERY FUND AND SMALL BUSINESSES
The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund), part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which NACo helped to develop and strongly advocated to pass, allocates $65.1 billion. These funds provide direct, flexible aid for every county, parish and borough in America. Counties are on the front lines in delivering this aid to residents and are a driving force connecting communities and strengthening the economy.
As directed by the ARPA and the U.S. Department of Treasury, counties can invest Recovery Funds into a broad range of programs, services and projects under five categories to: support the public health response; address negative economic impacts caused by COVID-19; replace lost revenue; provide premium pay to essential workers; and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
Since the enactment of the ARPA, America’s counties have been working hard to develop Recovery Fund implementation plans that will help spur an equitable economic recovery across the nation. As sound financial stewards, counties are investing these critical Recovery Funds to ensure the health and well-being of our nation’s residents and the economic vitality of our local communities. Many counties are in the preliminary stages of development and implementation of our Recovery Fund Plans. This report highlights county investments to create business entrepreneurship programs, distribute small business aid and provide support for diverse business owners.
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, COLO.
Arapahoe County is assisting businesses with re-opening measures by allocating $100,000 to provide small businesses with personal protective equipment (PPE) grants. The county has also allocated $7 million in Recovery Funds to a Rent Rescue Grant Program for small- and medium-sized businesses in order to bolster businesses who were most impacted by the economic downturn from the pandemic.
CAMDEN COUNTY, N.J.
Camden County is strengthening local business capacity by allocating Recovery Funds to small businesses which did not receive any prior COVID-19 relief. The county’s Small Business Grant Program will support both the immediate relief and long-term sustainability of small businesses in the community who are still facing financial hardship.
CHESHIRE COUNTY, N.H.
Cheshire County is providing emergency grants to county businesses and nonprofits, which was made possible through a $1 million allocation of Recovery Funds. The funding is intended to help the community recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and prioritize sustainable investments in the county’s residents.
COLLIER COUNTY, FLA.
Collier County is supporting small business resiliency by providing disaster loan and utility bill payment forgiveness. The county is also utilizing Recovery Funds to support businesses that were adversely affected by COVID-19 with business software upgrades, digital marketing and strategic plan counseling to ensure they have the tools they need to survive the ongoing public health crisis.
FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA.
Fairfax County is mitigating negative economic impacts of the pandemic through a $25 million investment in the county’s PIVOT Business Recovery Grant Program and $10 million in the Active and Thriving Communities Grant Program. The two grants will support a range of businesses and non-profits in the county as they return to normal operations, including food services, hotels, retail services, arts organizations, childcare programs and other community-based organizations.
FORT BEND COUNTY, TEXAS
Fort Bend County will support over 1,000 small businesses with supplemental grant awards through a $10.1 million allocation in Recovery Funds. Additionally, the county set aside $1.2 million for a business accelerator program that will provide a 12-course certification for businesses to give them the tools to develop an even stronger business in the wake of COVID-19.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, MONT.
Jefferson County will utilize Recovery Funds to establish a small business revolving loan fund to support business development and expansion in the community. The county will also allocate $300,000 for entrepreneurship and incubation development opportunities for small businesses. County officials will work directly with businesses impacted by the pandemic to help improve and/or expand existing operations.
KING COUNTY, WASH.
King County is encouraging a safe return to business through the “Safe Start – Tavern and Restaurant Program.” The program utilizes over $2 million in Recovery Funds to provide technical assistance, community outreach and compliance enforcement to help food establishments cope with increased operational costs due to new pandemic regulations. The program helps small businesses bear the burden of these extra costs while also ensuring public health remains the county’s top priority during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y.
Nassau County is focusing on robust economic recovery with a $10 million investment in the small business grant program, $10 million in the small business COVID-19 recovery loan program, $1.5 million for a small business technical assistance program and $500,000 for the Boost Nassau Resource Center. The new Resource Center will be a one-stop shop for information and guidance on the various ARPA-funded programs that are available to small business owners and non-profits as they recover from the financial losses brought on by the pandemic.
SALINE COUNTY, KAN.
Saline County is planning to partner with the Salina Chamber Foundation to stabilize local businesses through a phased approach. The first phase will focus on small business grants for immediate relief, and the second phase will focus on long-term issues related to economic development. The county will also use Recovery Funds to support the Salina Airport Authority and bolster travel and tourism related businesses that struggled to survive during the pandemic.
THURSTON COUNTY, WASH.
Thurston County is ensuring an equitable economic recovery through a $3.3 million allocation for the Minority Enterprise Investment. The Enterprise Investment will provide $10,000 grants to minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs that struggled to maintain operations during the pandemic. Another $2.2 million is allocated for the Thurston Strong Microbusiness Recovery Grants. The Recovery Grants will support any small business that shows proof of economic hardship over the past year and a half.
TULARE COUNTY, CALIF.
Tulare County will assist an estimated 965 businesses with operating costs that were shut down during the pandemic. The $925,000 allocation is addressing a key county need and is supported by the ARPA legislation.