American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds
On Wednesday, September 8, 2021, the City of Monroe hosted a virtual workshop for prospective ARPA funds applicants. This workshop provided details of federal ARPA reporting requirements, and the City's recipient contract and application packet. Attendance at the workshop, or viewing the workshop recording, is required for an application to be considered eligible; the workshop recording can be found here.
On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act ("ARPA") was signed into law. ARPA is a $1.9 trillion package that includes direct relief to states, counties, cities, and towns, as well as public utilities, libraries, and transit agencies.
The City of Monroe expects to receive approximately $5.5 million in two distributions. The City received the first distribution of $2.76 million on June 25, 2021. The second distribution is expected in June 2022.
Fund Distribution Process
On June 17, 2021, the City Council approved a plan to distribute ARPA funding based on community input. Under the approved plan, the City has formed three committees consisting of board and commission members to review applications. Committees will review applications within their area of expertise.
Mayor Geoffrey Thomas proposed, and the City Council approved, three priorities into which ARPA projects will categorized:
- Supporting Recovery
- Reconnecting Community
- Building Resiliency
Descriptions of each category is included in the ARPA Funds Application. Approximately $345,000 has been allocated to each category in this current round. Future funding rounds will be announced in 2022.
The Community Human Services Advisory Board committee will review recovery applications focused on health and human services; the Economic Development Advisory Board committee will review resiliency applications focused on economic development; and the Parks Board/Planning Commission committee will review reconnecting applications focused on tourism and special events.
On August 10, 2021, the City Council approved the proposed Application Process and Evaluation Criteria, and authorized the publication of each to occur on Monday, August 16, 2021.
A subcommittee representing each board/commission met to review the recommended criteria. Staff recommended criteria based on samples of criteria used by local agencies for evaluating a range of grant applications. Feedback and recommendations from the subcommittee were incorporated and presented to the City Council for review and approval.
The subcommittee recommended adopting a set of criteria that includes both qualitative and quantitative measures for a total of 100 points.
The qualitative measures are designed to give the review committees latitude to determine project priorities based on a project narrative rather than a set of defined criteria as required under the CARES Act. There are three qualitative criteria for a total of 50 points:
- Demonstration of need (20 points)
- Project evaluation - applicant is qualified, meets city goals, included in adopted plan (20 points)
- Funding prioritization - is the project a priority, can the organization carry out the work, would the organization benefit from the funds (10 points)
Quantitative measures will help applicants understand the need for a clear, well-defined budget, community partnerships, and matching funds. This also gives City staff a way to clearly articulate project rankings, especially for projects that may not receive funding. There are three quantitative criteria for a total of 50 points:
- Funding/Budget (20 points)
- Community support and partnerships (15 points)
- Financial support (15 points)
The intent is to make the application as short as possible while gathering enough information to help reviewers make informed recommendations for funding. The City also has to ensure applicants meet the minimum federal requirements. The application is divided into five sections:
- Checklist - to assist the applicant with submitting a complete application (1 page)
- Certification - to determine the applicant meets the City's priorities and federal requirements (1 page)
- Organization Information - minimum applicant information for contracting purposes (1 page)
- Questions - to help review committee score applications using evaluation criteria (4 pages)
- Project budget - budget spreadsheet, narrative, and sample budget (3 pages)
In addition to the application, the City will host two workshops to assist applicants. The first workshop will review the City's application and the federal requirements for accepting funds and reporting expenses. Federal requirements include paying prevailing wage for construction work, meeting state, federal, and local purchasing requirements, and ethics laws. All applicants are encouraged to attend the first workshop.
The second workshop will be held with awardees to review the City's contract and reporting requirements.
August 16, 2021
September 8, 2021
September 21, 2021
September 28, 2021
Applications to review committees
October 19, 2021
October 25, 2021
November 23, 2021
City Council awards funds
Second workshop for awardees