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Commonwealth's Counties

Senator Kaine Discusses American Rescue Plan Act Implementation with VACo Members

Senator Tim Kaine held an online conversation with VACo and VML members on September 27 to share updates from Congress and to hear from local governments about implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act, including decisions about use of Local Fiscal Recovery Funds and outstanding questions regarding eligible uses and reporting. Senator Kaine noted that the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds resources made available directly to states and local governments through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) were designed to address certain limitations of the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act; ARPA funding is more flexible, provided directly to counties, and may be deployed over a longer period of time.

Representatives from several local governments provided updates on their discussions and decisions on use of their Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Montgomery County Vice Chair Mary Biggs noted that her county is taking a deliberate approach to their funds and considering broadband expansion as well as water and sewer projects. Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman outlined his county’s plan, which includes a shared investment with the school division in broadband expansion, and assistance to volunteer fire and rescue squads. Mayor Tara Kea of the Town of Ivor discussed the Town’s experience as a non-entitlement unit receiving funding through the state; the Town plans to use its funding to replace water meters. Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick A. Duhaney and his staff outlined the City’s process of seeking guidance from City Council on its priorities and preparing a plan for use of the funds that will be considered by the Council in the near future. This plan includes stormwater projects as well as capital investments in certain city facilities, with some funds set aside for future contingencies.

Senator Kaine suggested that additional federal assistance may be available through the infrastructure bills currently under discussion in Congress, and Senator Kaine’s staff offered to relay further questions about ARPA implementation to staff at the Department of the Treasury. VACo thanks Senator Kaine for the helpful discussion and for his continuing strong support of local governments.

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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