Leveraging your tax dollars with transformational funding opportunities

Jun 14, 2024


SPENCER — Recently, partners at the NC Pandemic Recovery Office (NCPRO) and the NC League of Municipalities visited Spencer to find out how the investment of ARPA funding impacted our community.

Spencer is one of approximately 19,000 units of local government to benefit from the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF). Signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocates $1.9 trillion to COVID-19 relief and economic recovery. Cities and towns in North Carolina have directly received more than $1.3 billion in SLFRF. These funds went to state and local governments for the purpose of responding to negative economic impacts stemming from COVID-19, and the Town of Spencer’s allocation was $1,037,997. Local governments have until the end of 2024 to decide how to spend the funds, and until the end of 2026 to complete associated projects.

In 2022, we determined that our ARPA funding should cover staff salaries using the “revenue replacement” allowance, freeing up local dollars to invest in a list of special projects. We have spread the approximate $1 million over three fiscal years, with about half in the first year (FY23) and the remaining split over the current (FY24) and upcoming (FY25) fiscal years. This has been a once-in-a-generation investment in local communities across our nation. While the circumstances of the pandemic were not pleasant, this has been one form of a silver lining for many communities.

This investment of federal ARPA funds has been combined with nearly $6 million in additional grants and donations to fund many key projects over the last four years. In one example, the use of just $12,000 of our ARPA-enabled funds allowed us to contract with a consultant to seek state funding for stormwater needs. This small investment was successful with the award of a $400,000 town-wide stormwater planning grant and a $1.9 million design and construction grant to make improvements along 17th Street. Most of our grant funds have required no local match. For the less than 15 percent of grant funds that have required a match, most matching funds have come from other grant/donation sources. We are working hard to continue aggressively pursuing this kind of funding to maximize the return on investment of your local tax dollars.

Please watch the video below and visit nclm.org to learn more about what ARPA funding has meant to Spencer, and many other communities.

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