Treasury Releases Final ARPA Rule Providing Clearer Rules & More Flexibility

Common top of mind initiatives for state and local governments often includes modernizing technology, streamlining operations, and improving services for citizens. Of course, each of these initiatives requires funds…which may have just arrived.

On January 6, 2022, the U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) released the Final Rule for the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Relief Funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). More than $245 billion has been distributed to governments since the ARPA was signed into law in March 2021.

This rule provides additional clarity to states and localities, including tribal and territorial governments, on what they can do with the substantial federal resources made available to them through the ARPA.

The ruling, effective April 1, 2022,
provides additional clarity
and flexibility on uses, including:
  • Capital expenditures.
  • Expanding public sector
    hiring and capacity.
  • Premium pay for essential works.
  • Broadening eligible broadband,
    water and sewer infrastructure.

Funds can be used to “address administrative needs caused or exacerbated by the pandemic, including addressing backlogs caused by shutdowns, increased repair or maintenance needs, and technology infrastructure to adapt government operations to the pandemic (e.g., video-conferencing software, data and case management systems.”

Additionally, the Treasury is also giving governments the option to put up to $10 million of their relief payments towards revenue losses, enabling them to spend the money on a broad range of general government expenses without jumping through administrative hoops outlined in an earlier version of the rule.

It’s important to remember that today’s citizens have the expectation for their governments to have modern and online services available to them. Avenu is helping 100s of local and state governments modernize their technology to web-based applications and use the Recovery Funds towards:

  • Digitizing Records to increase remote access to documents while safeguarding history
  • Simplifying the Tax & License Administration process (for all tax types) to increase compliance by providing citizens with a way to accurately pay their fees online
  • Automating jury selection and to streamline operations and improve the juror’s experience through Jury Administration
  • Providing instant access to records for Recorders, Clerks and Stakeholders through Records Management
  • IT Managed Solutions & Cybersecurity by utilizing program management options to secure high caliber talent that is up-to-date on the latest technologies

This is certainly a partial list of what can be accomplished with the funds but one that meets the challenges that so many jurisdictions across the country are facing.

The Final Rule will go into effect on April 1, 2022. However, state and local governments can choose to take advantage of the Final Rule’s new flexibilities and simplifications now, even ahead of the effective date.

Keep abreast regarding changes and updates to the Recovery Fund by signing up for official updates from the U.S. Treasurer.