Funding Allocations: What Boulder County Has Funded So Far
Boulder County has made two rounds of funding allocations from the $63,359,749 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) award that the County received from Treasury. The Board of County Commissioners approved an initial allocation of $5,546,010 in 2021 toward immediate needs in pandemic response and recovery. The immediate needs process in Summer and Fall 2021 evaluated and responded to unmet needs of the community and internal county operations as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency that were not funded in Boulder County’s annual budget cycle.
To determine how to expend the remainder of funds, aside from administrative and a reserve for pandemic costs, the County and partners engaged in a community engagement and planning process, with the assistance of consultant Rebuild by Design and in collaboration with Community Foundation Boulder County and the ARPA Steering Committee. First, the County heard from more than 1500 residents about needs and impacts of the pandemic. Community feedback identified three areas of greatest need: Economic Challenges, Housing Affordability, and Mental Health and Social Resilience. Working Groups formed around each of these issue areas to identify projects for a transformative and equitable recovery. Working groups were composed of community members from non-profits, businesses, and other stakeholders, along with county staff and leadership, and each was sponsored by a County Commissioner and co-led by a community leader and a Boulder County department head. Their work was informed by feedback from community feedback as well as stakeholder input, best practices and research, advice from subject matter experts, and other ways. Working Group members developed project ideas and then prioritized according to what would have the most impact and other criteria. Proposals were presented to the Board at a public hearing on May 3, 2022, and approved at a Business Meeting on June 14, 2022. Proposed projects not approved on June 14 are still under consideration.
The county also previously received CARES Act funding and currently administers Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance funds, in addition to ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars. Some of the programs and services CARES Act funds supported included grants for childcare centers, human services initiatives, local non-profits support, telework resources for county staff, public health support, and economic assistance to local businesses and non-profits.