How should Rutherford County use its American Rescue Plan funds?

Jul 16, 2021 at 10:00 am by robmtchl


The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury released a memorandum on July 9, 2021, regarding additional guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act. In this memo, the Comptroller referenced the U.S. Treasury expectation to publish their final guidance in September.  The Comptroller also encouraged local governments to wait to finalize plans to use of these funds until the final guidance is received.

Rutherford County is set to receive $111 million, according to the Sycamore Institute.

The University of Tennessee County Technical Advisory Service offers the following suggestions for counties to consider pending publication of the final guidance:

  • Establish a committee that will be responsible for reviewing funding requests and developing a spending plan.
  • Develop processes that include:
    • How funds can be requested;
    • Screening and evaluation of funding requests; and
    • How to categorize and prioritize the funding requests to ensure they fall within the four authorized categories outlined in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Interim Final Rule

Counties have communicated that they are considering multiple options for use of the funds.  Before making definite determinations, CTAS encourages counties to plan these expenditures strategically.   

  • Consider funding those projects/ideas that will have a comprehensive and long-lasting effect on your counties;  
  • Consider including community stakeholders in soliciting ideas for spending; and
  • Consider opportunities for collaboration with state stakeholders.

Many of these ideas have already been considered and implemented in counties across the state. Once published, the final guidance will provide answers to many of your questions, enabling you to properly prioritize the use of your funds. This prioritization will minimize the potential exposure to liability for spending funds inconsistent with one of the four authorized American Rescue Act Plan funding categories. Good work isn't cheap and cheap work isn't good as the saying goes. But making certain the citizens get the best bang for their buck should involve every elected official. By inviting County Elected officials such as the Register of Deeds, Assessor of Property, County Clerk, Trustee, etc. to participate in this will provide for better representation and vetting of potential uses for these funds.

Additional guidance for local governments about the American Rescue Plan can be found at the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s website: https://comptroller.tn.gov/about-us/learn-about-our-office/administration/covid-19-guidance-for-local-governments.html

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