The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) includes $350 billion distributed directly to states, territories, tribal governments and local governments, known as the State and Local Fiscal Relief Funds (SLFRF).
In May 2021, Ernst & Young LLP published an article outlining 50 recommendations for how state and local governments can plan for, manage, and make an impact with ARPA funding. With thousands of local governments receiving SLFRF allocations at the same time — and no playbook to go by — the rapid sharing of ideas and insights is essential.
Recently, we spoke with city budget and finance officials across the country to get an early take on how they are managing this unprecedented influx of federal money — not just how they plan to use it, but also how they make their spending decisions.
What we learned is that these local leaders are figuring things out and taking a wide range of approaches, even to common challenges. They are being both practical and creative in stabilizing their finances, generating and evaluating investment proposals, engaging community members, promoting equitable outcomes, preparing for project implementation and managing uncertainty. The results remain to be seen, but the initial steps are critical and instructive.
This article summarizes the full report available for download. To see our panel of city officers and to read all findings from city officials, download the PDF