The Texas Association of Counties has created this webpage to collect information and answer your questions about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act that President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11, 2021. The act established the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which include $65.1 billion in direct aid from the U.S. Treasury Department to all counties nationwide. Of that total, Texas' 254 counties will receive about $5.7 billion.
The Treasury Department published proposed rules defining acceptable uses for American Rescue Plan funds on May 17. Publication of these guidelines, known as the interim final rule, began a two-month period for collecting comments from county officials. The comment period ended July 16. Read the comments here.
The Treasury Department created a submission portal through which counties can request their share of the recovery funds. Counties need a valid Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and an active registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) database to submit their requests and receive payment.
Questions about the portal or requests for support should be sent to email@example.com.
We are monitoring developments and will update this page as new information becomes available.
Allocation of recovery funds
Counties will receive their allocation directly from the Treasury Department in two portions: The first 50% started arriving in May 2021; the remaining 50% will arrive about 12 months later. Each county's allocation generally will be based on its share of the U.S. population.
The American Rescue Plan gives counties flexibility to decide how best to use Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to meet the needs of their communities. Treasury guidelines allow broad actions by local governments to:
- Support the public health response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Address the negative economic effects caused by COVID-19 by aiding workers and families, small businesses, nonprofits or industries such as tourism and travel that were hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
- Replace lost public sector revenue. Treasury's guidance includes a new methodology to calculate lost revenue. (See below.)
- Provide premium pay for workers performing essential work during the pandemic. Premium pay is defined as an additional amount up to $13 per hour, with a cap of $25,000 for any individual eligible worker. It can be retroactive.
- Invest in water and sewer infrastructure.
- Invest in broadband infrastructure.
Infrastructure improvement is a major focus of the American Rescue Plan. Counties may use their recovery funds for maintenance of infrastructure or pay-as-you-go spending for new infrastructure, within certain parameters. Under the proposed rules, capital improvements relating to infrastructure are limited to water, sewer and broadband internet projects.
Calculating revenue loss
Counties may use recovery funds to replace lost revenue. The National Association of Counties (NACo) has created a resource page to help you understand how to calculate your county's revenue loss. The resource page explains what is excluded from the calculation and what sort of revenue is included. The page also includes a revenue loss calculator developed by the Government Finance Officers Association.
Download the calculator here.
While the American Rescue Plan gives counties broad flexibility to decide how best to use their recovery funds, Treasury's guidance lists a few restrictions to ensure counties are using the recovery funds for their intended purposes.
Counties can't deposit the funds into a pension program. Other ineligible uses include funding debt service, paying legal settlements or judgments, and depositing recovery money into rainy day funds or financial reserves.
States are not allowed to use the money to offset tax cuts during the covered period or to backfill revenue from a tax cut.
Counties will be required to submit:
- An interim report covering spending from the date the county receives its recovery funds to July 31, 2021, with the report due by Aug. 31, 2021.
- Quarterly project and expenditure reports, with the first report covering spending from the date the county receives its recovery funds to Sept. 30, 2021, with the report due by Oct. 31, 2021.
- An annual recovery plan performance report. This report is required only for counties with populations greater than 250,000. The initial recovery plan will cover activity from the date the county receives its recovery funds to July 31, 2021, with the initial report due by Aug. 31, 2021. Each annual report thereafter will cover 12 months and will be due within 30 days of the end of the reporting period.
Important dates related to the American Rescue Plan's recovery funds:
- March 3, 2021: The beginning of the funds' "covered period."
- July 16, 2021: Deadline to comment on Treasury’s interim final rule.
- Aug. 31, 2021: Deadline to submit first interim report to Treasury.
- Aug. 31, 2021: Deadline for counties with populations greater than 250,000 to submit first recovery plan performance report to Treasury.
- Oct. 31, 2021: Deadline to submit first quarterly project and expenditure report. This reporting date applies to all counties.
- Dec. 31, 2024: Deadline for counties to obligate all recovery funds for specific projects and programs or risk having Treasury claw back the funds.
- Dec. 31, 2026: Deadline for counties to spend all recovery funds and complete all associated projects or return the funds to Treasury.
Key resources and guidance on the American Rescue Plan:
NACo recently hosted a webinar to discuss the Treasury Department's reporting and compliance guidance for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Watch a recording of the webinar here.