Using ARPA Funding for Your 2022 Technology Projects:
Learn where and how to spend your next round of money

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Good news for local municipalities: you can use ARPA funding for technology initiatives that keep your jurisdiction productive, connected, and informed amid the continuing public health emergency.

As early as March 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury will release round two of its Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, per the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Defined as a resource for “state, local, and tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts,” this funding provides a vital boost to balance safety and productivity.

Eligible state and local governments receive ARPA funding based on their population. Making the most of these resources for technology projects is critical. Recent changes implemented in the final rule make utilizing ARPA funding for technology projects even easier. In the interim rule, funding government services were allowed up to the amount of documented revenue loss due to COVID, a complex calculation. The final rule offers a standard allowance for lost revenue of $10 million. ARPA recipients can choose the standard allowance or continue with the documented revenue loss calculation.

Whether you’re starting from scratch and want to know what projects qualify for ARPA funding, or you’re further along in your planning, we’ve put together a list of potential projects to consider. Some may seem obvious, but they all will hopefully inspire ideas that lead to substantial improvements in your jurisdiction.

Expand your infrastructure for remote work

Faced with social distancing mandates and office closures, governments at every level took unprecedented steps to continue operations remotely over the past two years.

With ARPA funding, you can procure new tools, equipment, and virtual desktop solutions that enable or improve remote productivity, including:

  • Collaboration software, such as Microsoft 365 and Teams,
  • Case management software that allows remote access to files,
  • Agenda management software to remotely process agenda documents,
  • Virtual conference rooms,
  • Virtual public meeting spaces with broadcast streaming capabilities and captioning to enable citizen participation.

Working with all the major Virtual Desktop technology providers, SHI helps you select, deploy and manage the right solution for your organization’s needs. Contact us to learn more.

Move more business processes online

ARPA funding can help you reconfigure how you deliver essential services and support citizens amid pandemic-related closures and restrictions. Take this opportunity to create, upgrade, or expand:

  • Digital citizen portals for services such as permitting and licensing,
  • Remote call center operations,
  • Online information delivery,
  • Self-service kiosks for contactless transactions,
  • Public health data systems and other public health responses,
  • Real-time information and communication around COVID-19 cases, business closures, vaccine availability, and more.

Boost connectivity with Wi-Fi access

Connectivity is essential for all populations during a public health emergency. Consider using ARPA funds to expand Wi-Fi access in your community to:

  • Allow people to use QR codes to receive important information,
  • Empower government workers to be more productive at public facilities, such as vaccination clinics,
  • Create hot spots that promote equitable Internet access.

Strengthen your cybersecurity measures

From ransomware to phishing, cyber-related crimes have surged since the pandemic started. Hackers and other bad actors are taking advantage as more workers and workloads move online. Few local governments were prepared to adequately protect a decentralized workforce, especially on such short notice. Many are still playing catchup.

ARPA funding provides an opportunity to take a more strategic and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity, which may include:

  • Purchasing new hardware and software to protect critical infrastructure and systems and provide Identify and Access Management capabilities including risk-based multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, and privileged access management for your key stakeholders,
  • Updating legacy equipment that may no longer receive security patches,
  • Storing and migrating vital data and applications to the cloud to reduce risks of unauthorized access to on-premises data centers and servers,
  • Implementing a public safety computer-aided dispatch and records management system to isolate public safety records from city records.

Make the most of every dollar

Technology represents one of several potential uses for ARPA funding, so you may encounter internal competition for allocations. Jurisdictions employ different methods for determining which projects receive funding.

During the first round of ARPA funding, for instance, many larger jurisdictions (with larger allocations) formed decision-making committees where, designated government decisionmakers, business, and non-profit stakeholders evaluated projects and identified technology projects deemed valuable to the community during a public health emergency.

Regardless of jurisdiction size or selection process, governments can set themselves up for success by partnering with experts who understand as much about grants as they do technology.

At SHI, technologists work alongside the Government and Education Affairs (GEA) Public Sector Funding team to identify allowable technology projects under ARPA, define your project, obtain funding, and create a roadmap for procuring and implementing the right solutions.

From start to finish, we help you remain compliant with Department of Treasury requirements. The GEA team can also identify other potential grants and funding opportunities you can pursue to accomplish your technology goals.

Contact your SHI representative or visit our SHI Grants Program website to learn how our experts can help you leverage ARPA funding and other federal grants to support your municipality.