COVID-19 & ARA Resources

Fellow County Commissioners and County Staff,

Welcome to the Florida Association of Counties' American Rescue Plan resource website. On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law. Within the package, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund contains approximately $350 billion in federal assistance for our states, territories, tribes, counties, and municipalities. $65.1 billion is allocated for direct funding to all counties.

The Florida Association of Counties along with our partners, the National Association of Counties, advocated for this relief package by calling on Congressional Leadership and Florida’s Congressional Delegation to act swiftly in approving direct funding to counties to assist in the recovery efforts due to this pandemic. Please use this website as a resource for your county as you navigate the details and seek information regarding the American Rescue Plan.

I want to thank each of you for letting your voices be heard loud and clear – counties are on the frontlines every day within our communities fighting this pandemic and it is local governments that are leading the recovery efforts. United we stand as the county family and I am more optimistic than ever that together we will continue to rise to meet the challenges of this pandemic and that we will overcome it. I am humbled by your resilience and perseverance and it is my honor to serve alongside each of you.

Respectfully,

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay | Palm Beach County Commissioner, FAC President
After a massive win for counties across the United States, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund under the American Rescue Plan Act includes direct federal aid to all counties, a broad range of use of the recovery funds, the allowance for lost revenues in the most recent full fiscal year on the local level, and a deadline of December 31, 2024 to expend funds.
The last major relief package, the CARES Act, was signed into law nearly a year ago on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act created the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which provided $150 billion in direct assistance for domestic territories. Under the Coronavirus Relief Fund, Florida received a total of $8.328 billion, 55% ($4.580 billion) of funds for the state and 45% ($3.747 billion) of funds for local government jurisdictions. Populations greater than 500,000, received an allocation of $2.472 billion directly from the U.S. Department of Treasury. For populations below 500,000, counties received allocations in total of approximately $1.275 billion as determined by the Governor's Office as a part of the distribution of funds received by the State of Florida.
$65.1 BILLION IN DIRECT FEDERAL AID TO COUNTIES

As outlined in the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, a total of $350 billion will be split among states, territories, tribes, counties, and municipalities; $10 billion for coronavirus capital projects; and $1.5 billion over two years for revenue sharing counties, public lands counties.

Of the $350 billion, local governments would receive $130.2 billion, split evenly between counties and municipalities. Counties will receive a direct federal allocation of $65.1 billion based on county share of the U.S. population. Note that counties that are CDBG recipients would receive the larger share, based on population or calculated under the CBDG allocation method. Cities and municipalities will receive their own sum of money of $65.1 billion, these funds are separate from county funds.

USE OF FUNDS

The American Rescue Act outlines the guidelines on what a county can use the funds for, which includes:

Response to the public health emergency of COVID-19 and its negative economic impacts. Examples include, but are not limited to, assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or to industries hit hard from the pandemic, tourism, travel, and hospitality.

Provide premium pay to eligible workers of the county that are performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency, or by providing grants to eligible employees who perform essential work within their communities. Premium pay is defined as an amount up to $13 per hour, with a cap of $25,000 for an individual eligible worker.

Provide for the loss of revenue of local government services such as online sales tax, property tax, income tax, gas tax reductions, park and recreation fee reductions, clerk and court system reductions collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the county prior to the emergency (January 20,2020).

Provide necessary investments in water, sewage, or broadband infrastructure.

Additionally, State and local governments can transfer funds to a private nonprofit organization, a public benefit corporation involved in the transportation of passengers or cargo or a special-purpose unit of State or local government.

RESTRICTIONS ON FUNDS

Furthermore, the Act outlines what the funds may not be used for, which includes:

No funds can be used by the state to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue that results from a change in law, regulation or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax.

No funds can be deposited in a pension fund.
US TREASURY

All funds will be distributed to local governments through the U.S. Department of Treasury. The deadline to spend funds allocated through the Act will be on December 31, 2024. The funds will be distributed in two allocations. The U.S. Treasury will be required to pay counties the first allocation no later than 60 days after enactment. The second allocation will be distributed no earlier than 12 months after the first payment.

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Local governments will be required to provide “periodic reports” with detailed accounting of the use of funds. If any funds go misused or fail to comply with federal guidelines or law, including the submission of reports, a county will be required to repay the federal Treasury an equal amount to the funds used in violation.
“I also fully expect Treasury to consult with others in government who have history in this arena on the creation of this new formula such as the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior, as well as the National Association of Counties, state county associations, including the Association of O&C Counties Oregon, and many other groups with a deep understanding of these impacts across the United States.”

U.S. Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

The National Association of Counties is working with the U.S. Department of Treasury on procedural and certification guidelines of the funds, as well as, tax provisions.
Copy of WOB Webinar (Resized) (3)
Copy of WOB Webinar (Resized) (4)
Copy of Copy of NACo Flag Box Banner (11)
PAC Buttons (62)
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PAC Buttons – 2021-04-09T111338.766
Copy of Copy of NACo Flag Box Banner (18)
Share Your Story
Tell us how your county is responding the COVID-19 pandemic and driving recovery in your community! Use the given form to share how your county is using federal relief funds.
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