The American Rescue Plan Act & Ohio Townships
The OTA has prepared a funding overview and steps to take to receive ARPA funds.
Townships are generally considered "non-entitlement units of local government" or NEUs for puposes of ARPA funding.
Please note that three townships (Colerain/Hamilton Co., Green/Hamilton Co., and West Chester/Butler Co.) were included on an earlier released list of metropolitan cities with populations +50K.
A packet of information regarding registration was mailed to all townships.
Tips for Troubleshooting SAM.gov Renewal
Many townships are due to renew their SAM.gov registration. As a reminder, townships were required to create a SAM.gov account for American Rescue Plan funding and must keep the registration active to receive any future federal funds, including any funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, federal firefighter grants, or future disaster relief. Renewals must be completed annually through the SAM.gov website, which is always 100% free.
Below are some tips for troubleshooting your renewal process:
- No Match Found – SAM.gov will perform a check to find matches of existing entities that may be associated with your township. If no matches are found, you will need to submit documentation to verify your township’s legal name, physical address, and date of incorporation.
- Validate Incorporation Date – Townships in Ohio are not incorporated. Furthermore, the OTA staff is not aware of any township that has its original creation documents or if any of these documents still exist. Numerous townships have had success using one of the following four dates - 1803, 1804, 1900, or 2000. If none of the dates work, you will need to pull a help ticket.
- Validate Physical Address – To validate your township’s physical address, click the button to create an incident and upload a utility bill or a redacted bank statement. If your township has a PO box or sends mail to a different address, please make sure the documentation you are uploading has the physical address listed, not the mailing address. A PO Box will not be accepted as an address.
- Requesting Personal Information – SAM.gov users are not currently required to enter personal information or upload personal documents (including Social Security numbers or photo identification) to renew their entity registration. SAM.gov’s new security enhancements are voluntary at this time but may become mandatory at a future date.
If you have any questions, concerns, or issues while renewing your SAM registration, please contact the Federal Service Desk at 1-866-606-8220 or go to fsd.gov. OTA staff is also happy to discuss any concerns or questions with you, but only the Federal Service Desk will be able to help resolve issues.
Federal OBM Announces Alternative to ARPA Single Audit Requirement
In August, Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber issued a Bulletin (2022-008) informing townships about an alternative to receiving a Single Audit for eligible local governments pursuant to the American Rescue Plan Act - Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFR). The Alternative Compliance Examination (ACE) engagement is permitted by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for townships that expend $750,000 or more in federal awards during the township’s fiscal year and who meet other criteria. For more information, including eligibility requirements, please read the Bulletin here.
ARPA Procurement Guidance
As most townships do not receive federal funding, townships are not generally familiar with federal procurement standards, which are applicable to all ARPA expenditures. Compliance with federal procurement requirements was not an issue under the CARES Act because everyone was under a state of emergency, which is one of the exceptions to the federal guidelines.
The Treasury ARPA Final Rule was clear that all funds would be subject to federal procurement standards, which are referred to as the Uniform Guidance (“UG”) and generally set forth in 2 C.F.R. Part 200.
Notably, however, the UG does not only contain requirements for when funds are spent, but the UG also has requirements for recipients to have in place prior to the expenditure of any funds. The UG specifically requires any recipient to have: (1) “internal controls” in place; (2) documented procurement policies, and; (3) written standards of conduct relating to conflicts of interest. The recipient is also required to maintain all records necessary to document the detail involved in the procurement.
Below are links to documents to help townships understand federal procurement regulations:
Treasury has created a recording for NEUs to use for reporting on their ARPA dollars! This video covers reporting responsibilities, accessing Treasury's portal, submitting supporting documents, and FAQs. To access the video, please click the button below.
Reporting Deadline Extended
What can you use the funding for?
On January 7, 2022, Treasury released their Final Rule on ARPA funding, which significantly broadened eligible uses for Ohio townships. Thank you to the attorneys at Baker, Dublikar, Beck, Wiley & Mathews for their initial summary of this document and for providing the sample resolutions located below.
In the most significant change for townships, the Final Rule includes an option for ARPA recipients to elect to either calculate its revenue loss OR adopt a “standard allowance,” which is capped at $10 million. The Final Rule expressly acknowledges that the Standard Allowance will be most helpful for smaller entities, which would seem to encompass all Ohio townships. So long as the recipient consistently elects to utilize the Standard Allowance, rather than calculating revenue loss, the recipient may use up to $10 million for the provision of government services.
The term government services retains the same meaning as in the Interim Final Rule and is discussed on page 259. The Final Rule states that, generally, services provided by the recipient are “government services,” unless specifically listed otherwise. It further defines Government Services as including, but are not limited to, “maintenance or pay-go funded building of infrastructure, including roads; modernization of cybersecurity, including hardware, software, and protection of critical infrastructure; health services; environmental remediation; school or educational services; and the provision of police, fire, and other public safety services.”
This is consistent with the Interim Final Rule, which stated:
"Government services can include, but are not limited to, maintenance or pay-go funded building of infrastructure, including roads; modernization of cybersecurity, including hardware, software, and protection of critical infrastructure; health services; environmental remediation; school or educational services; and the provision of police, fire, and other public safety services. However, expenses associated with obligations under instruments evidencing financial indebtedness for borrowed money would not be considered the provision of government services, as these financing expenses do not directly provide services or aid to citizens. Specifically, government services would not include interest or principal on any outstanding debt instrument, including, for example, short-term revenue or tax anticipation notes, or fees or issuance costs associated with the issuance of new debt. For the same reasons, government services would not include satisfaction of any obligation arising under or pursuant to a settlement agreement, judgment, consent decree, or judicially confirmed debt restructuring in a judicial, administrative, or regulatory proceeding, except if the judgment or settlement required the provision of government services. That is, satisfaction of a settlement or judgment itself is not a government service, unless the settlement required the provision of government services. In addition, replenishing financial reserves (e.g., rainy day or other reserve funds) would not be considered provision of a government service, since such expenses do not directly relate to the provision of government services."
Based on this language, it appears that all townships will be able to presume their ARPA funds are revenue loss and use such funds broadly for any provision of government services, subject to the exceptions enumerated above. In order to properly effectuate the standard allowance, the resolution authorizing the use of the ARPA funds under the revenue loss category should specifically elect the Standard Allowance as defined by the Final Rule, and that will tie out the election for any audit.
Funds must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and spent by December 31, 2026.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding will be distributed to non-entitlement units of local government based on population. All townships are considered non-entitlement units, with the exception of three that have populations over 50,000 and were included in the "Metropolitan Cities" category (see above).
- There is a cap on the amount: The distribution may not exceed 75 percent of the jurisdiction’s most recent budget as of January 27, 2020.
- You can find your township's allocation here.
Funding for non-entitlement units was distributed to the state and will be administered by the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). OBM will pass the funding on to townships.
- Townships must be registered with OBM to receive funding.
- Funding will come in two disbursements: one initially and another 12 months later.