The American Rescue Plan Act
On March 11, 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) into law. ARPA provides local governments with resources through the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, to respond to the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are administered by the U.S. Treasury Department, which announced that the City of New Bedford would receive $64,729,754 in ARPA funding.
The U.S. Treasury released ARPA regulations that set forth eligible uses for funding, which include addressing acute pandemic-response needs, filling revenue shortfalls, and supporting communities and populations hit hardest by COVID-19. Revisions to these regulations take effect April 1st, 2022.
ARPA recovery funds provide substantial flexibility for cities to address and meet local community needs. Eligible uses include replacing public sector revenue loss, to provide government services at pre-COVID levels; supporting public health responses and COVID-19 mitigation efforts including medical expenses, behavioral health care, and public health and safety; addressing negative economic impacts, including economic harm to workers, families, small businesses, impacted industries, and the private sector; and supporting water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
Funding priorities have been set in a collaborative process involving:
- An extensive review of the City’s many strategic planning documents;
- Input from Department Heads with purview over areas such as Public Health; Housing and Community Development; Parks, Recreation, & Beaches; Public Infrastructure; Environmental Stewardship; and Emergency Management;
- Public outreach and community forums hosted the in summer and fall 2021 (click here to view the City's ARPA Presentation);
- A public survey which drew more than 500 responses (view the results here); and
- Review and approval by the City Council.
Small Business Assistance through NBForward! and NB100!
- Deadline: Rolling
- Administered By: The New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC)
- Eligibility: Small businesses in New Bedford. Additional eligibility criteria apply.
- Application: Click here to apply with NBEDC
- Description: Click here to learn more about the program
- Questions: Learn more and contact the NBEDC by visiting their website
NB Creative: Wicked Cool Places, Art is Everywhere, and ARTnet
- Wicked Cool Places: The application period has closed.
- ARTnet: Opened August 22, 2022; rolling deadline until depletion of funds.
- Art is Everwhere: The application period has closed.
- Administered By: New Bedford Creative
- Eligibility: Variable
- Application: Applications available here
- Description: Click here to learn more about the program.
- Questions: Contact Margo Saulnier at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Click to view the latest ARPA Expenditure Report, from the period ending July 31, 2023: ARPA: 2023_07_ARPA Expenditure Report.
- Summer of 2021: Program to incentivize COVID-19 vaccination.
- Business Support Services: Four organizations in New Bedford that provide direct assistance to small businesses have been selected to manage ARPA-funded programs on the City's behalf. They are the New Bedford Creative, the New Bedford Economic Development Council, the Community Economic Development Center, and Downtown New Bedford, Inc. ARPA funding for new and existing small businesses is available through the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
- Housing Expansion Initiative: Five housing development projects are being supported by ARPA funds, creating a total of 149 new units. A majority of the units will be income-restricted to households making various percentages of the area median income and rent for those units must meet affordability thresholds. Click here for more information.
- Capital Costs for Childcare, Out-of-School Time Care, and Early Childhood Education: The application process is now closed and awardees will be notified soon.
- Enhanced Facade Improvement Program: The application is process is now closed and awardees are being notified on a rolling basis.
- Enhanced Cultural Facilities Program: The application is process is now closed and awardees are being notified on a rolling basis.
- Vacant or Abandoned Property Rehabilitation: The application is process is now closed and awardees are being notified on a rolling basis.
- City projects including:
- Zeiterion Theater Renovation
- Ventilation improvements in City-owned buildings to limit the spread of COVID-19
- Park and beach improvements
- Roadwork associated with water and sewer projects
- Airport improvements
KEY DATES RELATED TO THE RECOVERY FUND
Declaration of the public health crisis
Beginning of the Recovery Fund "covered period"
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), Pub. L. No. 117-2
U.S. Treasury issues Interim Final Rule
Deadline to comment on U.S. Treasury's Interim Final Rule on Recovery Fund
Recovery Funds must be obligated
Recovery Funds must be spent, and all work/performance must be completed