Counties and the ARPA Recovery Fund
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 directly to every county across the nation. 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 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. While counties are in the preliminary stages of development and implementation of Recovery Fund Plans, they are beginning to make key investments in the following areas.
COUNTIES ARE UTILIZING RECOVERY FUNDS FOR KEY INVESTMENTS
HOW ARE COUNTY POPULATIONS AFFECTED BY THE RECOVERY FUNDS?
County governments are utilizing Recovery Funds for a broad array of investments. A breakdown of these counties by population illustrate that the top investment priorities for midsize to large counties include: bolstering our nation’s local health programs; strengthening our infrastructure system; and ensuring that crucial human services are available to all residents in need. Beyond the scope of the midsize to large county Recovery Plans, rural counties are also on the forefront of delivering critical health and human services to our communities. These investments across counties are a key component of local recovery efforts and provide a clear direction to boost future resiliency.
MIDSIZE COUNTIES (250,000 TO 500,000)
- 79 out of 103 counties plan to invest in public health strategies that mitigate and prevent COVID-19 spread in the community
- 48 out of 103 counties will replace lost revenue in order to continue key government services
- 32 out of 103 counties will use funds to expand broadband access in unserved and underserved parts of the county
LARGE COUNTIES (500,000 TO 1,000,000)
- 31 out of 65 counties plan to improve 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
LARGEST COUNTIES (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
The ARPA provided $7.5 billion in funding to rural counties with populations under 50,000, which county leaders are investing into critical services for rural communities. For example, Jefferson County, Mont. is expanding affordable, high-quality childcare; Cheshire County, N.H. is utilizing funds for emergency grants to local businesses and non-profits; and Saline County, Kan. is supporting affordable housing in the community through procuring land, rehabilitating existing housing and providing emergency repairs to low-income homeowners. Additionally, Summit County, Colo. is implementing solutions to address a regional workforce housing shortage that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.