A Framework for Cities and Towns
ARPA provides communities with an unprecedented opportunity to impact the lives of their citizens, business, and employees through the commitment of funds in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and/or its negative economic impact. Although this funding is a welcome opportunity, many cities and towns are struggling with where to begin the necessary documentation and reporting. The framework for managing APRA funds, should include a strategic plan, community engagement, oversight and monitoring, as well as reporting.
Each city and town will need to identify priority projects through strategic planning in which the ARPA funds would best benefit specific areas in the community, including health, economic development, public safety, infrastructure improvements, etc.. Project submittals should align with the community’s short-term and long-term goals, and identify how the project will achieve community equity goals established by the ARPA legislation.
Community engagement allows stakeholders to have ownership in the projects, programs, and services that have the potential to shape their future and the future of generations for years to come. A robust community engagement strategy should be implemented to provide stakeholders the opportunity to review and understand each project and offer their input into where the ARPA funds should be used in their community.
Once the project selection process has been completed, each community will need to oversee the financial performance of the project, monitor the progress and impact, as well as provide updates for transparency. ARPA requires greater non-financial measurements for each project, including, status, demographic distribution, sub-awards, compliance, revenue replacement, required programmatic data for infrastructure, etc..
Additionally, APRA requires transparency through specifically designed reports that capture:
Current Period/Cumulative Obligation
Current Period/Cumulative Expenditures
Project Status Updates
Percentage complete (less than 50%)
Percentage complete (more than 50%)
Project Level Data Summary
Negative Economic Impacts
Services to Disproportionately Impacted Communities
Premium Pay for Essential Workers
Water, Sewer and Broadband Infrastructure
By working together, communities can ensure that ARPA funding is distributed equitably and the funding is being used in the best interest of the city or town. Capital Strategic Solutions is currently working with communities across Massachusetts, including the Cities of Gloucester and Lynn, as well as the towns of Acushnet, Dunstable, Pepperell, Southborough, and Townsend.
“Our goal at Capital Strategic Solutions is to help cities and towns maximize their ARPA funding and provide much needed projects and support to their residents and businesses. CSS can assist in all facets of the process including strategic planning, community outreach, compliance, procurement and financial reporting,” said Jennifer Thompson, CDO, CSS.
About Capital Strategic Solutions
Capital Strategic Solutions, LLC. (CSS) is a Massachusetts-based, woman-owned business (WBE) that is composed of former municipal employees. Since 2014, CSS has been partnering with communities and consultants throughout New England to enhance community engagement by building trust through transparency. Our team is committed to providing equitable resources to communities to maintain and increase community services that benefit residents, businesses, and visitors of each client's community.
We deliver creative and cost-effective services that maximize success while minimizing risk for our clients. Our team specializes in community engagement, grant writing & management, impact mitigation & crisis communication, project management & oversight, solutions for data management, website design services, tactical social media outreach, and virtual and in-person event planning. We work diligently with our clients to define clear project goals while resolving complex challenges.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-690-0046.