Guide to Local Recovery Update: July 27

Jul 27, 2022

The U.S. Department of the Treasury updated its American Rescue Plan Act reporting guidance to give cities more flexibility when reporting on revenue loss spending. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released information about a wildfire defense program and the U.S. Department of Transportation opened a grant program to help reconnect displaced communities. Both programs were funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

New flexibility for cities when reporting revenue loss spending

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently updated its State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Project and Expenditure Reporting Guide, which governs funding authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The updated guidance gives additional flexibility when reporting revenue loss spending.

The previous version of the guide required local governments to either make a one-time, permanent selection of the “standard allowance” or perform a revenue loss calculation in the April 2022 report when reporting on funds used in the revenue loss category. The updated guidance allows local governments to change their selection during the next reporting period.

Due to COVID-19's unprecedented impact on cities’ revenues, flexible use and reporting within the revenue loss category has been a priority for the League of California Cities.

Wildfire defense grant program for high-risk communities opens shortly

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service released information about the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, which was authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The program prioritizes communities that have a high or very high wildfire hazard potential, are low-income, or have been impacted by a severe disaster.

Grants can be used to create and update community wildfire protection plans or conduct outreach and education. Some funding may be used for associated infrastructure and resilience projects. The number of projects selected will be determined by available funding, which is $200 million annually.

The new program will also help communities in the wildland-urban interface meet the three goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy: maintain resilient landscapes, create fire-adapted communities, and improve wildfire response.

Funding to help reconnect displaced communities now available

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the opening of the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, also authorized by the federal infrastructure package. The program is the first federal program dedicated to reconnecting communities that were cut off from economic opportunities by previous infrastructure projects. The funding supports solutions like high-quality public transportation, infrastructure removal, community revitalization, and planning studies.

The Transportation Department will hold two related webinars, one on July 28 for all interested applicants, and another for smaller cities, tentatively scheduled for Aug. 4. Additional infrastructure grant resources are available on the DOT Navigator.

City officials looking for additional information about the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or additional recovery tools can visit the Cal Cities Guide to Local Recovery portal.