The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 11, 2021. This act created the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program.

The City of Sun Prairie received a total of $3.6 Million under the SLFRF program. The city has received the first tranche of funding in 2021 and expects to receive the remaining funding in the summer of 2022.

On Tuesday, March 15, the Sun Prairie City Council passed a resolution approving the use of the remaining $1.82 million from the ARPA Grant to fund the Community Investment ARPA Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

The NOFO is the external process available for community organizations to request funds. City staff will have the opportunity to request funds through a separate internal process.

External Funding Process – Community
Investment Notice of Funding Opportunity

This opportunity is open to nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, and for-profit organizations that have a physical location(s) and operate within city limits.

Eligible projects under this funding opportunity are programs that respond to the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19, which could include assistance to households, small businesses, non-profits, and providing aid to impacted industries.

From the $1 million allotted for external funding, the maximum grant award amount that can be requested is $150,000 per organization or project with a minimum award of $5,000.

Organizations can partner together to submit a single proposal.

Submitted proposals will be evaluated by an internal staff team who will make funding recommendations to the city council.

Following grant awards, selected organizations will need to comply with quarterly budget and programmatic reporting to the city. The city will use the quarterly reports to help fulfill federal reporting requirements under ARPA.

Internal Funding Process – ARPA Initiative Form

City staff created an internal process for departments to propose ARPA funding for an initiative.

The city council allocated a total of $800,000 of funding for additional projects submitted during this process. If a departments particular initiative does not get funded with ARPA funds, the department can still pursue submitting the request as a 2023 budget initiative if they choose to continue to request funding.

Departments are encouraged to use ARPA funds in way that aligns with needs identified during the community input process. Staff proposing initiatives will follow a similar timeline as the external NOFO process with submissions being received by Administrative Services by May 2, 2022 with council consideration on June 7, 2022.

Like external grant recipients, internal projects will need to comply with quarterly budget and programmatic reporting to Administrative Services.

Community feedback

During the month of February, the city published a community member feedback via an online survey.

The purpose of the survey was to gather input and priorities from the community on areas that should be of focus of future ARPA funded projects. The number one priority for respondents of the survey was for the city to support immediate economic stabilization for households and businesses.

The second priority is for the city to address systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic.

Respondents were asked to select their top five priority projects out of a list of eligible activities. The top five priority activities identified were:

1. Mental health;

2. Food security;

3. Youth programs and services;

4. Direct assistance to small businesses and nonprofits; and,

5. Child care.

Additionally, an Informational Session was held on Wednesday, March 9 to provide an overview of the American Rescue Plan, solicit feedback, and answer community questions. All the feedback received from both engagement activities was used to shape the Community Priorities section of the NOFO.

Next steps

As listed in the accompanying timeline, the NOFO issue date is set for Friday, April 1. It is strongly recommended that organizations planning to submit a project proposal attend the virtual Applicant Informational Session being held on Monday, April 11.

For information on NOFO and additional background information on ARPA, visit www.cityofsunprairie.com/ARPA .

“Our priority is to ensure that these funds are spent in an equitable way that supports those who have been impacted the most by the pandemic,” said Sun Prairie City Administrator Aaron Oppenheimer.