American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
Enacted in the spring of 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, provides $1.9 trillion in funding to individuals, schools, businesses, and areas suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that total at the national level, Connecticut municipalities are slated to receive $2.55 billion ($1.56 billion to general government / $995 million to schools).
The Town of Mansfield will receive a total allocation of roughly $7.5 million. This amount does not include ARPA Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund allocations received by Mansfield Public Schools ($755,000) or Regional School District #19 ($835,000).
What can be done with the funding?
Funds must be “obligated” by December 31, 2024 and can be used to cover costs associated with:
•Responding to the negative impacts of the COVID pandemic, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits as well as aid to affected industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;
•Providing government services previously cut due to pandemic-related revenue shortfalls, and;
•Making needed investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
In broad terms, eligible uses of ARPA funding include: supporting public health response; addressing negative economic impacts; replacing public sector revenue loss; providing premium pay for essential workers, and; water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
Funds explicitly cannot be used for:
•Paying down unfunded pension liabilities
•Applying as matching funds toward other federal grants
•Paying interest or principal on outstanding debt, or for consent decrees/legal settlements Contributing to rainy day funds
Mansfield's Process for Establishing Priorities
First, department heads across the Town of Mansfield were asked to submit proposals for investing ARPA funds according to the criteria outlined by the federal authorities. They each submitted these project proposals to the Town Manager.
To gain public input on the most appropriate uses for ARPA funds in Mansfield, the Town Manager's office conducted a public survey in late summer. Here is a summary of the survey results:
In November the Town Manager presented a recommendation to the Town Council regarding how the Town of Mansfield could use the federal funding it is receiving. The summary proposal and presentation slides are here:
In the coming months, the Mansfield Town Council will be reviewing and considering its options, and updates will be posted here.