Update on Ohio Townships and American Rescue Plan Act Funding
Despite many letters and shows of support from Ohio’s Congressional delegation and at the state and local levels, there has not yet been a response from the U.S. Treasury regarding Ohio townships’ possible exclusion from direct American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) funding. Therefore, at this time, it is still uncertain if ARP funds will be specifically directed to those 1,308 townships. If townships have not been determined eligible for direct ARP funding by the end of the Treasury’s 60-day fund distribution window, townships could potentially still receive ARP funding via a transfer from other eligible entities.
Sharing of ARP revenue would occur only on a voluntary basis. To that end, the OTA has been part of discussions with statewide leaders regarding the possibility of providing funds to Ohio townships. The path forward will be reliant on the Treasury’s determination. Until receiving final figures and a Treasury determination regarding townships’ eligibility, any estimates currently available for ARP funding are subject to change.
“Ohio’s townships and their residents need these funds in order to recover economically from the ongoing pandemic,” said Heidi M. Fought, OTA Executive Director. “We’re grateful for the many efforts of support shown for Ohio’s townships over the past few weeks. Just like other forms of local government in Ohio, townships provide essential services to millions of Ohioans and have been hit hard by the pandemic.”
The confusion regarding ARP funding was caused by language inconsistencies between bill versions – more specifically, a definition change in the term “nonentitlement unit of local government.” The potential exclusion would affect townships in Ohio and in several other states (including North Dakota and Illinois). Ohio townships had been included in funding estimates for previous versions of the bill.