Township ARP Eligibility Made Official as Gov. DeWine Signs HB 168
The Ohio Township Association (OTA) is very gratified to report Gov. DeWine’s signature today of HB 168, legislation confirming Ohio townships’ rightful eligibility for American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding. After months of uncertainty, with townships unintentionally left out of original ARP bill language – due to definition inconsistencies for “non-entitlement unit of local government” (NEUs) – it was announced by the US Treasury in May that Ohio was one of eight states in which the state itself would determine ARP eligibility and the definition of NEUs. (See the OTA’s past PR on this subject here.) In June, township eligibility was placed into first SB 111 and then HB 168; after today’s signature of HB 168 by Gov. DeWine, townships in Ohio have finally and rightfully been confirmed for direct ARP funding as true units of local government.
HB 168 specifies that half of the ARP funding ($422 million) is to be distributed to NEUs, which specifically includes cities, villages, and townships with populations under 50,000 (per ARP guidelines, half the funding is to be distributed now and half is to be distributed 12 months later). The funding will be distributed through the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) by population.
“We are ecstatic that townships in Ohio are now eligible for direct ARP funds. Congress’s intention was to provide funding relief to local governments. With townships providing essential services to four million Ohioans, they desperately need these funds, just like cities and villages,” said Heidi M. Fought, OTA Executive Director. “Though it was discouraging to learn in May that Ohio townships are not considered ‘strong-minor civil divisions’ and therefore were not automatically eligible for direct ARP funds, we are heartened that our state’s leadership has recognized townships’ rightful designation as NEUs.”
In May, three of Ohio’s 1,308 townships were included on Treasury ARP allocations for metro cities with populations over 50K; now, with the other 1,305 townships confirmed to be eligible for the funds as well, the OTA encourages township trustees and fiscal officers to obtain the funding even if they are not yet sure how to use it. Treasury guidance and other important information can be found on the OTA’s website here.
The OTA would like to reiterate sincere thanks to Governor DeWine and to the Ohio General Assembly for supporting the rightful designation of townships as NEUs for purposes of ARP eligibility - as Congress originally intended. Because no NEU funding estimates/allocations were ever released as final or official, township eligibility for such funding does not negate or minimize any prior official funding for other units of local government.