In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno created the Department of Recovery and Business Continuity (“DRBC”), with the objective of effectively, efficiently, and equitably administering American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA” or the “Act”) funds within the City of Springfield for all eligible use categories, as determined by the United States Department of the Treasury through its Interim Final Rule. DRBC is responsible for utilizing public input gathered from the City’s residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to implement an open and transparent process for ARPA funding to be distributed, so that the maximum benefit is derived for the people of Springfield, in furtherance of the goals and objectives of the Act.
On March 11, 2021, ARPA was signed into law. Section 9901 of ARPA amended Title VI of the Social Security Act to add section 602, which establishes the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, and section 603, which establishes the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (together, the “Fiscal Recovery Funds”). The Fiscal Recovery Funds are intended to provide support to State, local, and Tribal governments in responding to the impact of COVID-19 and in their efforts to contain COVID-19 on their communities, residents, and businesses. The Fiscal Recovery Funds build on and expand the support provided to these governments over the last year, including through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (“CRF”). Through the Fiscal Recovery Funds, Congress provided State, local, and Tribal governments with significant resources to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts through four categories of eligible uses:
- To respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality; and
- To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers; and
- For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency; and
- To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure
In addition, Congress has clarified two types of uses which do not fall within these four categories. Eligible uses under ARPA do not include (and thus funds may not be used for):
- Depositing funds into any pension fund; or
- Directly or indirectly offsetting a reduction in the net tax revenue of the State or territory resulting from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation.
Non-Profits, Small Business, and New Business:
Applicants for ARPA funding have the right to request reconsideration of decisions made on their application. The deadline for appeal submissions is December 31, 2023. All appeal requests must be submitted no later than December 31, 2023. Appeal requests submitted after December 31, 2023 will not be accepted. To appeal, send a written notice stating the reason for appeal within 30 days of receiving the City’s decision. The written notice should be sent to the ARPA Office at 1600 E. Columbus Avenue, Springfield MA 01103 or submitted via email to email@example.com. The appeal will be reviewed by the Chief Development Officer, the Director of Technical Assistance and Compliance and the Director of Administration and Finance of the Development Services Division, who will provide a response to the applicant in writing.