The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Elizabeth Pullman
Whitehall Ledger 

Updated Guidance for American Rescue Plan Act: Prepare for Tonight's Meeting & Commentary


The American Rescue Plan Act meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. at the Borden’s Conference Room. This meeting will provide information on the ARPA Act and allow for public comment on how Jefferson County should spend almost $2.4 million in the county.

Jefferson County Commissioners received the “U.S. Treasury Interim Final Rule & Guidance for State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds” on May 24, 2021, which provides guidance on how to use the ARPA funds, which, before this document, was a bit vague.

The document, at 26 pages, is a lot of information to process, but the appendix at the end tidies it up into one easy to digest tidbit. The examples of eligible uses of recovery funds are provided below.

Please consider this information when attending tonight’s meeting and providing public comment on the ARPA funds.


COVID-19 response

• Vaccination programs

• Medical care

• Testing

• Contact tracing

• Isolation & quarantine

• Medical or public health access for

vulnerable populations

• Public health surveillance

• Public health order enforcement

• Public communication

• Health care capacity enhancement

• Capital investments in mitigation tactics in public facilities

• Personal protective

equipment (PPE) purchases

• Prevention/mitigation in congregate living facilities and schools

• Ventilation improvements in congregate and health care settings

• Public health data

system enhancements

Behavioral health

• Mental health treatment

• Substance misuse treatment

• Crisis intervention

• Outreach to promote access to health and social services


• Public health, health care, human services, public safety, and others

who work on COVID-19 response

• Payroll and benefit costs for employees or units/divisions primarily dedicated to

COVID-19 response



• Food assistance, rent, mortgage, utilities

• Counseling and legal aid to prevent eviction or homelessness

• Cash assistance

• Burial assistance

• Survivor’s benefits

• Home repairs and weatherization

• Internet access or digital literary assistance

• Job training to address negative economic or public health impacts

Public Sector

• Rehiring public sector staff up to pre-pandemic levels

• Replenishing unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds up to pre-pandemic levels

• Building internal capacity to implement economic relief programs, with investments in data analysis, targeted outreach, technology infrastructure, and impact evaluations

Hardest-hit Communities

• Limited to spending within a Qualified Census Tract, families

living in Qualified Census Tracts, other populations, households,

or geographic areas disproportionately impacted by the pandemic

• Community health workers, public benefits navigators, remediation of lead hazards, and community violence intervention programs

• Services to address individuals experiencing homelessness, affordable housing development, housing vouchers, and residential counseling and housing navigation assistance to facilitate moves to neighborhoods with high economic opportunity

• New or expanded early learning services, additional resources for high-poverty school districts, educational services like tutoring or afterschool programs and services to address social, emotional, and mental health needs

• New or expanded high quality child care, home visiting

programs for families with young children, and enhanced

services for child welfare-involved families and foster youth

Small Businesses & Nonprofits

• Loans or grants to mitigate revenue declines, closures (e.g., payroll and benefits support, employee retention, mortgage, rent, utilities, other operating costs)

• Loans, grants, or in-kind assistance to implement prevention or mitigation tactics (e.g., social distancing, enhanced cleaning, barriers or partitions, vaccination, testing, contact tracing)

• Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to assist business planning

• Support for tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors


• Broad latitude to support government services, up to the amount of the lost revenue

• Includes revenue from taxes, current charges, and miscellaneous general revenue

• Calculated at four points in time: December 31, 2020; December 31, 2021; December 31, 2022; and December 31, 2023

• Upon receiving payments, recipients may immediately calculate revenue loss for the period ending December 31, 2020

• Excludes refunds and other correcting transactions, proceeds from issuance of debt or the sale of investments, agency or private trust transactions, and revenue generated by utilities and insurance


• Includes intergovernmental transfers between state and local governments, but excludes transfers from the federal government

• Recipients must calculate revenue on an entity-wide basis rather than a source-by-source basis

• Includes current charges that would be included in the Census Bureau’s definition of state or local government general revenue from own sources, such as revenue of facilities operated by a

government (swimming pools, recreational marinas and piers, golf courses, skating rinks, museums, zoos, etc.); auxiliary facilities in public recreation areas (camping areas, refreshment stands, gift

shops, etc.); lease or use fees from stadiums, auditoriums, and community and convention centers; and rentals from concessions at such facilities



• Any work performed by an employee of the state, local or tribal governmen

• Staff at nursing homes, hospitals, and home-care settings

• Workers at farms, food production facilities, grocery stores, and restaurants

• Janitors and sanitation workers

• Public health and safety staff

• Truck drivers, transit staff, and warehouse workers

• Child care workers, educators, and school staff

• Social service and human services staff

• Retrospective and prospective premium pay permissible

• Staff working for third-party contractors in eligible sectors


• Drinking water infrastructure projects, such as building or upgrading facilities and transmission, distribution, and storage systems, including the replacement of lead service lines

• Wastewater infrastructure projects, including constructing publicly-owned treatment infrastructure, managing and treating stormwater or subsurface drainage water, facilitating water reuse, and

securing publicly-owned treatment works

• Projects that address the impacts of climate change

• Aligns eligible projects with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

• Encourages projects to use strong labor standards, including project labor agreements and community benefits agreements that offer wages at or above the prevailing rate and include local

hire provisions


Investments in areas that are currently unserved or underserved (i.e., lacking a wireline connection that reliably delivers minimum speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload)

• Prioritize projects that achieve last-mile connections to households and businesses

• Projects that deliver services offering reliable 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload speeds, unless impracticable due to topography, geography, or cost

• Fiber optic investments


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