ARPA vs CARES - public recordsWhere does CARES end and ARPA begin?

ARPA Vs. CARES: What are the Differences?

The Federal Government continues its push to stimulate economic recovery and alleviate the strain many agencies are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. One of the first sources of funding was the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion aid package ($150 billion direct to SLGs) signed into law in March 2020. Jurisdictions follow a set of steps to apply for this funding for public records projects. The deadline for spending was extended to 12/31/21.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is the most recent funding relief package released in the United States. ARPA provides about $1 trillion in funding dedicated to economic recovery, $350 billion of which is earmarked as emergency funds deposited directly to funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments, which includes:

  • $195.3 billion for state governments
  • $65.1 billion for 19,000+ municipal governments 
  • $65.1 billion for 3,000+ county governments
  • $20 billion for tribal governments

Here are some important differences between ARPA and CARES, as they pertain to state and local governments.

Total Amount Available$1.9 trillion; $350 billion direct to SLGs$2.2 trillion; $150 billion to SLGs
EligibilityState, local, territorial, or Tribal government agencies (local governments are defined as those with a population of 50,000 or more)State, local, territorial, or Tribal government agencies (local governments with are defined as those with a populations over 500,000 were eligible for direct payments)
Fund DistributionDirect from US Treasury to SLGs (including all states and counties; plus cities with populations above 50K) via the Treasury Portal in two tranches — half now, half in May 2022. Non-county municipalities (cities, towns, townships and villages with populations 50K and below will get money from the state)Funds were sent to states and largest cities/counties which then distributed down to smaller governments.
Eligible Uses relating to public records processing as a government serviceEnforcement of public health orders (including safe remote work for staff and non-contact government services) and public communication and emergency response data-sharing efforts; providing government services to the extent of reduction in revenue as a result of COVID-19, including but not limited to police/first responder/public safety services and investments in modernizing cybersecurity. PLUS - any eligible use under CARES is also eligible under ARPA.Public health expenses, including communication and enforcement of public health orders; expenses for technical assistance and improving telework capabilities; expenses related to reimbursing the costs of business interruption.
DeadlinesFunds should be used to cover costs incurred by December 31, 2024The implementation deadline is December 31, 2021
Reporting RequirementsLocal governments are required to provide “periodic reports” detailing the use of funds; states must report how funds are used and how tax revenue was modified during the time that funds were spent (source: government should keep records sufficient to demonstrate that the amount of Fund payments has been used in accordance with section 601(d) of the Social Security Act (source:

Free eCourse – ARPA and public records

This 8-part eCourse will provide resources to help you convince others in your organization of the value of investing in a public records solution using ARPA funds. 

To keep up with the pace of increasing volume and complexity of public records – you are going to need to modernize your technology and deliver more government services – like public records – digitally.  

Other Lessons on ARPA Funding

ARPA Implications for Public Records