Among other things, it can be spent on efforts related to COVID and other public health services; drinking water, sewerage and broadband projects; all kinds of housing assistance, including rent and utility assistance; and aid to education.
But a lot of these things come with such strict guidelines and reporting requirements, Gleason said, that it would probably cost more to stick to them “than to do anything right.”
The category with few of them is infrastructure. Roads and bridges projects are not eligible, but the money can be spent on many clean water and potable water initiatives as well as sewer, storm water and broadband projects. For those, Gleason said, “It’s a green light.”
But there is another factor at play.
Some of the federal ARPA funds for local governments come from the state, with the Montana legislature as its intermediary. Under a measure adopted in the last session, Butte-Silver Bow receives an additional $ 5.5 million.
To get that money, Gleason says, Butte-Silver Bow has to match it with $ 3.9 million. It won’t be a problem in this case because for once the county can dip into federal ARPA money to get more ARPA money.
“This is the only time I have ever seen the federal government allow us to use federal money to match federal and state funds,” she said.