Guide to Local Recovery Update: Feb. 22

Feb 22, 2023

The State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) help center has reopened and the federal government is providing relief for certain SLFRF grantees impacted by the Single Audit Act. The federal government also released new information about several upcoming grant opportunities, including a $27 billion clean energy initiative and a $5 million technical assistance program. The California Office of Grants and Local Services is accepting applications for the Recreational Trails Program.

SLFRF help center reopens

In a major win for cities, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has reopened its State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) help center. The funds were authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act. The help center was shut down in October 2022 due to a lack of funding authorization.

 The process for filing an annual SLFRF report can be complicated and overwhelming for city staff unfamiliar with federal filings, making the help center a vital resource for city staff with questions.

City officials are encouraged to use the Self-Service Resources before contacting the help center. For additional assistance, please contact the Treasury Department by emailing or calling (844) 529-9527.

Single Audit relief for some SLFRF grantees 

The Office of Management and Budget is providing some relief for some SLFRF grantees impacted by Single Audit Act. The law requires cities with federal expenditures in excess of $750,000 to undergo a Single Audit, which includes an audit of both financial statements and federal awards.

This relief only applies to very specific qualified entities and the Single Audit would still apply for non-SLFRF expenditures that exceed $750,000. Public agencies interested in an exemption should review an overview written by the Government Finance Officers Association, National League of Cities, and National Association of Counties and then contact their auditor.

EPA releases guidance on new, $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Fund

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released guidance on its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The $27 billion fund was created by the Inflation Reduction Act and will leverage private capital for clean energy and clean air investments.

$7 billion will be set aside for local governments. Grantees must direct all funding to help low-income and disadvantaged communities deploy or benefit from zero-emission technologies, as part of the Justice40 Initiative. Grant applications are expected to open this summer.

Technical assistance available for small and mid-sized communities

Federal agencies are accepting requests for technical assistance through the $5 million Thriving Communities Program. The interagency initiative is designed to support the coordination and integration of transportation and housing in infrastructure planning and implementation.

Cities should request technical assistance through the program if they will receive federal transportation funding, want to address housing needs in disadvantaged communities, are committed to community engagement, and are active in one of the program’s topic areas. Priority will be given to jurisdictions with populations of less than 250,000 people.

Requests will be reviewed as they are received, on a rolling basis.

$6.7 million available for recreational trail development

The California Office of Grants and Local Services is accepting applications for the Recreational Trails Program, which is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The majority of the program (70%) will fund non-motorized projects. Funding can be used for easements, development and rehabilitation, new trail construction, and the maintenance of existing trails. Certain restrictions apply to the construction of new trails.

Applications must be submitted online before 5:00 p.m. on June 15. The Office of Grants and Local Services is holding two application workshops, one on Feb. 28 and another on March 1.

White House releases summary of upcoming infrastructure grants

The White House released two key recovery resources for cities, including a new summary of all upcoming infrastructure grants (PDF). The summary highlights funding opportunities that communities can apply for now through April, as well as estimated opening dates for over 60 other grant programs. The most relevant programs for cities will be highlighted in upcoming issues of Guide to Local Recovery.

To date, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has directed approximately $18.1 billion in infrastructure funding for California. A new fact sheet from the White House highlights how that money has been spent, how much more is expected, and several notable regional projects (PDF).

City officials looking for additional information about the American Rescue Plan Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, or additional recovery tools can visit the Cal Cities Guide to Local Recovery portal.