Thoughtful planning underway for American Rescue Plan Act funds

by | Mar 4, 2022 | County News, Department of Strategic Initiatives

This past year, Ottawa County received $56.6 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The Act, passed last March, is intended to deliver relief in the wake of COVID-19. More specifically, the primary purposes of these funds, as highlighted by the U.S. Treasury Department, are:

  • Support urgent COVID-19 response efforts
  • Replace lost revenue for eligible state, local, territorial and tribal governments
  • Support immediate economic stabilization
  • Address systemic public health and economic challenges

To ensure the public has a voice in how Ottawa County utilizes these ARPA funds, the County Board of Commissioners on June 8, 2021 appointed 19 community members to serve on an American Rescue Plan Act Advisory Committee. Representing a cross-section of the community, these 19 committee members include local government, charitable foundations, economic development, nonprofit and human service agency professions. The committee went straight to work prioritizing how the $56.6 million should be spent. Following extensive discussions, fact-finding and outreach, the Advisory Committee settled on these funding categories:

  • County operations: Offsetting costs and strain on resources due to the pandemic
  • Countywide broadband: Address persistent gaps in high-speed internet service
  • Affordable housing: Leverage federal dollars through public/private partnerships to build needed affordable housing units
  • Social and human needs: Uplift and expand upon social programs and assistance, such as child care and mental health
  • Business stabilization needs: Provide support services to businesses such as necessary working capital, technology improvements, workforce retention and training

What’s next? The Advisory Committee is creating application forms and logistics associated with funding distributions for approved projects, along with reporting and accountability requirements. When these plans are in place, the Committee expects to receive its first round of funding requests from various Ottawa County entities aligned with the recommended funding priorities. The County looks forward to seeing the positive impacts of this federal assistance. Subscribe to receive updates on funding opportunities.

US Flag with the text American Rescue Act Plan of 2021

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