Counties Welcome American Rescue Plan Act Final Rule Offering Key Flexibility to Support Recovery

NACo primary logo

WASHINGTON – With the historic investments from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the nation’s counties are leading efforts to save lives and restore livelihoods. The National Association of Counties (NACo) today welcomed the release of the Final Rule for the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund), which was authorized under the ARPA, and allocated $65.1 billion in direct aid to counties from the U.S. Treasury Department.  

Since the Recovery Fund was established, NACo has worked closely with Treasury to ensure county recommendations and priorities are included in the Final Rule. The Final Rule provides the following changes and new flexibilities:

  • Allows counties to use up to $10 million in ARPA Recovery Funds for government services without completing a complicated “revenue loss” calculation. NACo championed this bipartisan provision  
  • Allows Recovery Funds to be used for the modernization of cybersecurity for existing and new broadband infrastructure, including the modernization of hardware and software
  • Expands eligible uses for water and sewer projects to include culvert repair, dam and reservoir rehabilitation, and stormwater infrastructure
  • Clarifies how counties can use Recovery Funds for certain capital expenditures to respond to public health and economic impacts
  • Streamlines options to provide premium pay by broadening the share of eligible workers

The Final Rule will not go into effect until April 1, however counties can pursue the new flexibilities and simplifications in the rule immediately.

The American Rescue Plan Act recognizes counties’ vast responsibilities to care for our most vulnerable residents and bolster our nation’s recovery,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “We commend the administration for embracing the bipartisan concept of flexibility in allowing counties to use up to $10 million in Recovery Funds for important general public services. Treasury’s final rule clarifies how this historic legislation will help us strengthen our communities by investing in distressed small businesses, public health and safety, human services, especially for those suffering from domestic violence, mental illnesses and substance use disorders, and much-needed infrastructure, including broadband.”

America’s counties are on the front lines of the nation’s response to this public health and economic crisis, operating over 1,900 public health departments and nearly 1,000 hospitals, facilitating critical infrastructure and responsibly investing ARPA funds to support our residents and drive recovery in our communities.

Explore NACo's State and Local Recovery Fund resource hub and database of planned ARPA Recovery Fund investments, sourced from official county documents, including U.S. Treasury’s Recovery Plan Performance Reports, press releases and budgeting materials.