American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding

Stimulus Funding to Future-Proof Government Operations

State and local government organizations, including yours, are getting ARPA funds to enhance operations. Digitizing your records requests management process is an ideal way to use ARPA funds to modernize your office.

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ARPA for Records Requests Software

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319 or ARPA) is a $1.9 trillion package intended to address the continued public health and economic impacts caused by COVID-19.  

Many ARPA provisions are IT-related and that includes records requests management software purchases. Specific sections of the act also provide new or improved broadband access for citizens to access digital government services and will likely further increase the volume of records requests experienced by governments.  

Now is the time to future-proof the sustainability for your agency to care for your citizens. 

What You Should Know About ARPA

 

We broke down the 242-page act into a conversation about the appropriate uses of ARPA funding through our partnership with SLATE Consulting, including records request management.  

More ARPA Resources

Go Deeper with Your Knowledge about ARPA 

Stimulus Funding Guide

The complete guide to using stimulus funding for your organization.

7 Myths About the American Rescue Plan Act

A simple, yet comprehensive checklist to help you understand the opportunities and obstacles in your agency to get your project funded.

ARPA vs CARES – What’s the Difference

Stimulus funding is available for education, state, county, local, and tribal agencies.

How Agencies Plan to Use Stimulus Funds

Projects related to the outward-facing way you do business with constituents are a good case for business continuity. See samples on our blog.

Ask the Experts

Our partners at SLATE Consulting answer your most-asked questions about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

By May 11, 2021, 50 percent of funding got distributed. The second half of funding will begin no earlier than 12 months after the first payment receipt 

It should go through the normal budgeting process for your agencyAppropriations using ARPA funds do not require additional approvals from the federal government.  

The act allows for broad usage of funds, with very few restrictions. Specifically allowable (not exhaustive) usages include:  

  • Technology that facilitates social distancing, remote work, and business continuity (records request software, document management, modernization, etc.)  
  • Pandemic-related expenditures (public health, vaccines, contact tracing, etc.) 
  • Pay raises for essential workers 
  • Provision of government services due to COVID-19 reductions 
  • Water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure 

The two main usage categories that are specifically prohibited are: 

  1. Funding pensions 
  2. Offsetting tax cuts made since March 3, 2021 

Most state and local governments saw a rise in records requests since the pandemic began, causing compliance problems and legal issues due to late (or absent) responses.  

JustFOIA customers saw a 35 percent rise in requests in 2020 (versus 2019), and another rise of 24 percent in Q1 of 2021 across the board.  

We recommend that you choose projects for which the ROI (return on investment) will be easily provable within the first year of use — ask us about the ROI on JustFOIA. When ARPA funds run out in 2024, the ROI for your projects will prove themselves and likely absorbed into your general budget. 

The bill has not specified reporting requirements other than those projects using ARPA funds will have to “periodically report” on usage.  

Yes. However, the bill puts certain percentage limits on funds spent on administrative expenses.  

ARPA funds distribution uses a formulaic method for determining allocations. Government funding is mostly allocated by a mix of factors, such as, population, percentage of population unemployed, and special projects plans. For a more thorough breakdown of ARPA funding, please see the “Future-Proof Your Office with American Rescue Plan Act Funding” webinar. 

ARPA funding is directly allocated to state and local governments automatically and does not require an application to receive funding. 

If the plans your government already has do get implemented, it could indirectly impact projects not specifically using ARPA funding by freeing up existing or future general funds. Proving the ROI of your project will increase your likelihood of adoption regardless of if it directly uses ARPA-allocated funds.  

Additionally, investigate the plans that your government has explicitly stated to evaluate whether your project could fit within the plan. E.g., if the funds are used for “IT Modernization,” could a public records request software (your project) get included to modernize existing manual processes?