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American Rescue Plan funding provides support for state and local public safety agencies

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law and established the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which together make up the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program.

The SLFRF program provides $350 billion to state, territorial, local, and tribal (SLTT) governments to assist in responding to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19 and assist in their efforts to mitigate impacts on their communities, residents, and businesses.

The U.S. Treasury published an Interim Rule outlining how the funds in the SLFRF program could be used by SLTT governments on May 17, 2021, and this week, on Jan. 27, Treasury published the Final Rule.  The Final Rule is scheduled to go into effect April 1, 2022, but SLTT governments can take advantage of some of the funds prior to the effective date.

The funding includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county in America. The National Association of Counties (NACo) has worked closely with Treasury to ensure county recommendations and priorities were included in the Final Rule. NACo provides an analysis of the Final Rule published this month, including an overview of authorized uses of the funds. Changes included new flexibility to use SLFRF funds to invest in broadband infrastructure, services and programs to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including capital investments in public facilities, and investments in housing and neighborhoods.

According to NACo, several authorized uses of this funding can directly benefit local public safety agencies. The following list highlights some of these uses:

  • Payroll, staffing, and re-hiring expenses for police officers, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, firefighters, emergency medical responders, correctional and detention officers, and dispatchers or supervisory personnel that directly support public safety staff.
  • Police, first responders and other public safety services (including purchase of fire trucks and police vehicles).
  • Improvements to or construction of emergency operations centers and purchasing of emergency response equipment such as emergency response radio systems.
  • Emergency medical response expenses, such as uncompensated care costs for medical providers.

For more information on eligible uses of this funding, visit NACo’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Resource Hub.

In January 2021, Treasury opened a web portal to begin disbursement of funding to SLTT governments. SLTT governments can visit the portal to apply for available funding.

(Source: NACo, U.S. Treasury)