American Rescue Plan Act

Dear Hattiesburgers,

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represents an opportunity for all cities and counties to rebuild stronger as we move closer to a post-pandemic era. ARPA’ sent direct assistance to local governments to meet both immediate and long-term needs like water/sewer infrastructure, broadband access and public health infrastructure.

Hattiesburg received $12.8 million. Since ARPA’s passage in 2021, the allowed uses for this one-time funding have expanded. In addition, the Mississippi Legislature used some of its ARPA allocations to create a matching grant program for cities and counties. This grant program incentivizes cities to steer ARPA allocations toward long-term, strategic investments by giving a 1:1 match on water, sewer and stormwater projects. For Hattiesburg, this means $12.8 million could turn into $25.6 million if all of the funds were used for water, sewer and stormwater projects and leveraged against the state’s matching program.

Hattiesburg possesses great potential and momentum right now. However, like every other city, we have many needs. We are under a consent decree for sanitary sewer overflows, and ARPA represents an avenue to move further along in sewer line replacement and rehabilitation. We have stormwater needs, as Hattiesburg continues to see more flash flooding events. We have made great progress in replacing undersized and aging water lines.

I do anticipate that most of Hattiesburg’s allocation will be leveraged against the state match to invest in water, sewer and drainage infrastructure. However, in addition to infrastructure, this could represent a moment to invest in our human capital and quality of life. We could strengthen our partnership with Pearl River Community College to give more residents workforce training opportunities. We could provide free wifi at our parks. We could invest in our Downtown. We could update our fleet of public safety and sanitation vehicles.

When weighing these potential uses, it’s very clear that $12.8 million will not stretch enough to meet everyone’s wish list. That’s why it is so important to be strategic with ARPA funding decisions – and most importantly, to give the public a voice in how monies are spent.

That’s why we created this Web site. In addition to some short survey questions, there is room for you to submit your ideas on what this one-time money should be used to accomplish. I believe in an “ambitious yet achievable” philosophy. Think big, but also consider the holistic needs of our city. Your suggestion may also be something very specific, such as additional drainage inlets on your street. Either way, we want to hear it.

Even if your idea does not make the list of expenditures for this $12.8 million, your input gives us direction on what is important to our residents and neighborhoods, and other funding could be secured to make your idea happen. If we have been successful at anything over the past five years, it has been securing state and federal resources and creating partnerships with counties, commissions, universities and others to accomplish shared goals.

I encourage you to take the survey and make your requests known. Working together, we continue our trajectory toward making Hattiesburg the premier city of the Gulf South.

All the best,

Toby Barker – Mayor
City of Hattiesburg

ARPA EXPLAINED

On March 11, 2021, the President of the United States signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to provide relief from the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This Act is a $1.9 trillion measure to address the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.

ARPA will deliver $350 billion for use by eligible state, local, territorial and Tribal governments to cover COVID-19-related response measures and to replace lost revenue.

Congress allocated Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to tens of thousands of eligible state, local, territorial and Tribal governments – including $45.6 billion for cities.

On January 18, 2022, the Hattiesburg City Council voted to acknowledge and receive the City’s SLRF allocation of $12,875,821.

In April 2022, Governor Tate Reeves signed Senate Bill 2822 matching local governments’ spending of ARPA funds for infrastructure projects, $1 for $1.

ARPA states that funding can be used to:

– Replace lost public sector revenue, which allows for the use of up to $10 million of a recipient’s ARPA allocation to provide basic government services.

– Support the COVID-19 public health and economic response by addressing COVID-19 and its impact on public health as well as addressing economic harms to households, small businesses, nonprofits, impacted industries and the public sector.

– Provide premium pay for eligible works performing essential work, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical sectors.

– Invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, to support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and to expand affordable access to broadband internet.

HATTIESBURG NOTES

– On January 18, 2022, the Hattiesburg City Council adopted a resolution to establish a Uniform Guidance Policy for Administration of Funds Received from the U.S. Department of Treasury under the American Rescue Plan Act.

– On January 18, 2022, the Hattiesburg City Council voted to acknowledge and receive the City’s SLRF allocation of $12,875,821.

– On January 18, 2022, the Hattiesburg City Council voted to authorize the purchase of a fire truck and related equipment as a provision of government services using funds received from the U.S. Department of Treasury under the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

However, with the Mississippi Legislature’s passage of SB 2822 in April, and with the delivery of the fire truck delayed until 2023, the City of Hattiesburg could shift the revenue source of this fire truck from ARPA to the general fund. This would allow the city to maximize more of its ARPA allocation for the matching grant program.

– On February 8, 2022, the Hattiesburg City Council voted to approve a resolution authorizing the purchase of five garbage trucks using funds received from the U.S. Department of Treasury under the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

However, with the Mississippi Legislature’s passage of SB 2822 in April, and with the delivery of the garbage trucks delayed until late 2022, the City of Hattiesburg could shift the revenue source of these five garbage trucks from ARPA to the general fund. This would allow the city to maximize more of its ARPA allocation for the matching grant program.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are several questions that we anticipate receiving about ARPA funding. Should you have additional questions or concerns, please contact mayor@hattiesburgms.com or 601-545-4501.

 

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is a federal law that was signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021. ARPA focuses on supporting the most vulnerable communities and businesses. The law grants relief funding for individuals and local governments.

The City of Hattiesburg’s ARPA allocation is $12.875,821, with the possibility of more through Senate Bill 2822. This was signed into law to establish the Mississippi Municipality and County Water Infrastructure Grant Program Act of 2022 – matching APRA funding spent on infrastructure dollar for dollar.

Funds may be used to cover eligible costs incurred through December 31, 2024, as long as the award funds for the obligations incurred by December 31, 2024 are expended by December 31, 2026.

This is a Federal Grant and is subject to all rules, guidelines, regulations and requirements like all other federal grants received by the City and is subject to Single Audit requirements.

Project ideas that can be funded by ARPA can be shared through a community survey, accessible here: https://bit.ly/hburgarpa_survey.