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American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Resources

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, passed by the federal government in March 2021, Massachusetts state, county, tribal and local entities will receive federal aid to respond to the public health and economic impacts of the public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has compiled the following rules and resources related to the American Rescue Plan Act from our Office, the federal government, other state agencies and private organizations.

Table of Contents

Office of the Inspector General Resources

The OIG has compiled OIG Bulletin articles related to using ARPA funds, including articles about paying for supplies and services with federal funds, invoice review, data analytics and vendor audits.

The above webpage answers frequently asked questions relating to COVID-19 and Chapter 30B.

This manual contains guidance for complying with Chapter 30B of the Massachusetts General Laws, known as the Uniform Procurement Act. Chapter 30B governs the procurement of supplies, services and real property by municipal governmental bodies. Chapter 30B applies to procurements made with federal funds, including from ARPA’s Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLRF).  

The Designing and Constructing Public Facilities manual describes requirements and recommendations for awarding public design and construction project contracts. Massachusetts awarding authorities conduct a variety of construction projects, including schools, police and fire stations, roads, bridges, and wastewater treatment plants. Please note that infrastructure projects using assistance from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSRF/CLRF) must meet federal eligible use requirements. 

The above charts are intended for local officials to use as a quick guide on public procurement procedures that must be followed pursuant to the Massachusetts General Laws. Your local rules may establish stricter or additional requirements that you must follow. Contact your chief procurement officer or legal counsel for advice on your local rules and procurement procedures.

This guide provides information on writing and organizing clear, effective invitations for bids (IFBs) and requests for proposals (RFPs) for supplies and services. The guide includes general instructions, a model IFB, model RFP language and sample bid forms. 

This guide recommends methods and identifies resources for hiring audit firms and managing audit services contracts. The guide also clarifies Chapter 30B’s narrow exemption for certified public accountants. 

This video provides an overview of Chapter 30B, including legal requirements and best practices for purchasing supplies or services by local jurisdictions. 

The above video will help public officials, public employees, and those who want to protect the public interest understand the concept of fraud.  The video also provides useful tips to detect and prevent fraud in the workplace.

Additional Resources for Office of the Inspector General Resources

Federal Resources

Primary Guidance

The U.S. Treasury's web page on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provides important information about funding requests, funding amounts, allocations, permitted uses, as well as reporting and compliance responsibilities.

The Treasury's Interim Final Rule (IFR) provides guidance on eligible uses, reporting and oversight requirements and spending prohibitions. The IFR explains how to determine whether a project is eligible for funding pursuant to ARPA.

This FAQ sheet answers questions regarding the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, including questions relating to eligibility, allocations, permitted uses and reporting.

Non-entitlement Units

Non-entitlement units (NEUs) of local governments are local governments typically serving populations of less than 50,000. This guidance addresses distributions of Fiscal Recovery Funds to NEUs and answers questions relating to eligibility, allocations, permitted uses and reporting.

Compliance and Reporting

The following compliance and reporting guidance, presentation slides and associated webinars created by the U.S. Treasury Department describe compliance and reporting requirements for recipients of state and local fiscal recovery funds.

Uniform Audit Requirement

All non-federal government entities that spend $750,000 or more during the non-Federal entity's fiscal year in Federal awards, including ARPA funds, must have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the provisions of this regulation, 2 CFR 200.

Evidence and Evaluation

The webinar and presentation slides above describe the use of evidence in determining the efficacy and efficiency of investments using ARPA funds. ARPA requires that expenditures of fiscal recovery funds are supported by a strong or moderate evidence base, based on prior studies, that the expenditure will meet the intended goal of the funding.

Equity

The webinar and presentation slides above provide examples of how jurisdictions are driving equity with fiscal recovery funds, including through engagement of historically underserved communities, using data to drive targeted investments and through performance management.

Examples of Uses

The above documents have examples compiled by the Treasury Department showing how jurisdictions are using state and local fiscal recovery funds.

Other State Resources

Federal Funds Office (FFO)

This page provides information about federal funds provided to the Commonwealth in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund; federal funds distributed to municipalities and school districts; and FFO's role in compliance for federal funds, including compliance resources for municipalities and state agencies 

This memorandum states the differences in reporting requirements for “metropolitan cities” and counties as opposed to “non-entitlement units of local government” (NEUs).

This presentation serves as a guide for the reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury documents. It focuses on non-entitlement units of government which are required to submit annual project and expenditure reports. 

    Division of Local Services Bulletins 

    These Bulletins provide information regarding the accounting treatment of funds received by cities and towns from ARPA.

    This write-up is intended to inform decision makers about allowable uses of ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, including through local subrecipients such as municipalities and nonprofits.

    This FAQ sheet answers frequently-asked questions relating to municipal audits.

    The webpage above provides information relating to accounting and auditing municipal spending.

    Massachusetts Office of the Comptroller 

    The above memorandum sets forth the Office of the Comptroller's (CTR) accounting guidance for revenue and grants received pursuant to ARPA. ARPA-related revenue and grant transactions will post to a separate MMARS sub-fund.

    Executive Office of Technology Security and Services

    The Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program is a program that will help local government to improve overall cybersecurity posture through end-user training, evaluation and threat simulation. 

    Non-governmental Resources

    GFOA Guidance on Procurement of Independent Audit Services

    The web page above from the Government Finance Officers Association provides recommendations regarding the procurement of audit services. 

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