Elkins Launches Online ARPA Survey
Elkins, W. Va., August 20, 2021: City of Elkins is using an online survey to collect public input concerning how to spend federal pandemic-recovery funds granted to the city. The survey will accept responses through Sunday, September 12.
Under the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed earlier this year, Elkins has been awarded approximately $3 million in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Mayor Jerry Marco has established an ad-hoc ARPA Advisory Committee to advise the Elkins council as it considers how to make use of these funds.
The mayor, the committee, and city staff have already been discussing possible uses for these funds, including improvements to the city’s water and sewer systems and ADA accessibility upgrades to city hall. The purpose of the online survey is to enable the public to propose additional ideas for making best use of these funds.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury (DOT) has issued rules guiding and restricting expenditures of these funds. There are two overarching restrictions.
First, ARPA funds must be used in one of the following categories: supporting the public health response to the pandemic; addressing the negative economic impacts of the pandemic; replacing public sector revenue losses; providing premium pay for essential workers; improving water and sewer infrastructure; improving broadband infrastructure; and/or providing equity-focused services.
Second, DOT rules specifically prohibit ARPA funds from being used to offset reductions in net tax revenues or to make extraordinary payments (i.e., payments intended to reduce accrued unfunded liabilities) into public pension funds.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, ARPA funds will be distributed in two equal disbursements, half in 2021 and half in 2022. ARPA funds cannot be used to cover expenditures made prior to March 3, 2021. Funds must be obligated no later than December 31, 2024, and expenditures to cover those obligations must occur no later than December 31, 2026.
Extensive additional restrictions apply. These may be reviewed by visiting the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s ARPA Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds home page to access fact sheets, FAQs, and the full interim rules for use of these funds.
DOT Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds homepage: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/assistance-for-state-local-and-tribal-governments/state-and-local-fiscal-recovery-funds
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