CSAC Bulletin Article

Urge the House to Pass Legislation Providing ARPA Recovery Fund Flexibility!

October 28, 2021

Last week, the U.S. Senate approved legislation that would provide counties with much-needed flexibility as it pertains to the use of Local Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The bipartisan bill (S. 3011), sponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and John Cornyn (R-TX), or the recently introduced House version (H.R. 5735), could come up for a vote in the House of Representatives in the coming days.

Call to Action

CSAC encourages county officials to call or text your Members of Congress TODAY using the below talking points.

Key Talking Points:

  • California’s counties support the immediate passage of S. 3011/H.R. 5735 and ask you to cosponsor the House version.
  • Counties continue to be at the forefront of responding to the devastating public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the passage of ARPA, counties have been actively assessing the recovery needs of their communities in order to help inform the development of Local Recovery Fund investment plans.
  • While ARPA provides some degree of flexibility as it pertains to spending Recovery Fund dollars, S. 3011/H.R. 5735 would go a long way toward ensuring that counties are able to invest federal COVID-19-relief funds in the manner that best suits their individual community needs and priorities.
  • This includes potentially increased investments for vital county services, a broader range of critical infrastructure projects, and essential recovery from disasters.

CSAC recently sent a letter to the California House delegation and encourages counties to utilize this template for their own letters to House Members. S. 3011/H.R. 5735, known as the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, would do the following:

  • Allow counties (as well as states, cities, tribes, and territories) to direct up to $10 million of their ARPA Recovery Fund allocations for the provision of government services without being required to calculate revenue loss.
  • Allow entities to invest up to $10 million (or 30 percent, whichever is greater) of their Recovery Fund dollars for a wide range of infrastructure-related purposes, including, but not limited to: road, bridge, and safety improvement projects; public transit; and, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) eligible projects.
  • Allow states and local governments the explicit authority to spend ARPA funds to provide emergency relief from natural disasters and their negative economic impacts.

CSAC’s recent summary of this legislation has further details about the bill’s provisions. Finally, this spreadsheet developed by NACo shows preliminary estimates for all counties about the revenue that would be newly eligible for infrastructure projects and government services.

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