The improvements in rates of COVID-19 infections and vaccinations are heartening, but the financial strain imposed on municipal budgets remains. Some new relief is here! This Alert highlights the recently issued process for municipalities under 50,000 in population to access the grant funds allocated under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Here is a link to the Guidance referenced in this Alert:
June 1, 2021, Memorandum from the Executive Office for Administration & Finance Federal Funds Office
Q. How Does My Municipality Obtain the Federal Grant Money Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021?
A. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides federal funds for municipalities to alleviate the strain on municipal budgets caused by COVID-19. Municipalities with populations of 50,000 or more apply to the U.S. Treasury directly for their funds. Smaller municipalities, however, can only apply for funds through a state process, a process which has been unavailable until now. On June 1, 2021, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance Federal Funds Office issued the process by which these smaller municipalities, referred to in the legislation as “Nonentitlement Units” may obtain their funds. The application form is simple and available as an online, fillable form through the embedded hyperlink.
The federal government allocated further funds to state counties. Since Massachusetts has abolished county governments for all but five counties, the shares allocated to the abolished counties will be further allocated to each municipality in the county on a per capita basis. Municipalities located in Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, and Dukes Counties will not receive any extra allocation, as those counties continue to have county governments.
The amount shown on the Executive Office’s memorandum includes both the amount directly allocated to the municipality and the amount derived from the abolished county’s allocation, if any. As an alternative to accepting the funds, the municipality may decline the funds and transfer its share to the Commonwealth.
Please contact us as further questions arise.
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