There is some criteria for what the funds can be used for, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits; financial aid for tourism, travel and hospitality businesses; overtime pay to eligible workers of the municipality that performed essential work; grants for eligible employers that have employees who perform essential work; or investment in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
“And finally, the federal government prohibits the city, and all recipients, from using ARP money to replenish or start reserves or rainy day funds,” Simon said. “The purpose of the money is to put it back into the local economy, either through direct assistance to businesses, direct assistance to residents, to pay for government services that help restore the economy to a healthy position.”
Municipalities are not allowed to use the money to pay down debt, supplement pension funds or offset a tax cut directly or indirectly. This includes using the money to lower property taxes.
Funds must be allocated by the end of 2024 and all money must be spent; municipalities cannot hold onto the funds for an unlimited amount of time.
Simon said the funds also could be used to support public health efforts like vaccination clinics, COVID-19 testing and infrastructure that helps prevent exposure to the virus; and water, sewer and broadband infrastructure improvements.