Quick Guide to Funding for Towns

 

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

All towns and incorporated villages in the TRORC region are “non-entitlement units of government” (NEUs). Based on their populations, each will be getting their share of ARPA funding in four allotments. Local funding amounts can be found lower down through a link on this VLCT page.

Payments are expected on the following schedule:

  • 1st local payment August 2021
  • 1st payment of reallocated County funds: around Labor Day 2021
  • 2nd local payment around August 2022
  • 2nd payment of reallocated County funds: around Labor Day 2022

Do not feel you have to rush to spend these. Funds must be obligated (promised through subgrant or contract) by December 31, 2024 and actually spent by December 31, 2026. That is a lot of time, but if you are going to do a large project that does not have engineering and permits yet, you will likely need it.

Unlike most grant programs where you apply for certain things, the funder approves it, and then you get money, this process works in reverse. You will get the money directly from the US Treasury and only later will they approve or deny what you did. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THE RULES. Both VLCT and TRORC staff are here to assist you. You can email [email protected] or [email protected] for assistance.

How can these funds be used?

  • The regulations governing use of these funds have not yet been finalized, but there is an interim rule and a summary of that. We expect a final rule around the end of the 2021 calendar year.
  • Broadly, eligible uses fall into 4 categories: pandemic response, premium pay to essential workers, lost municipal revenue, and water, sewer or broadband infrastructure. VLCT has an ongoing page of frequently asked questions and answers.
  • Additional state and federal governments grant opportunities for local governments are likely, and towns are advised to be patient as these may be better sources to fund certain projects, leaving your funds for other kinds of projects that they are not funding.
  • ARPA dollars can NOT be spent on:
    • Pensions
    • Infrastructure not explicitly named in the ARPA regulations
    • Match for other funding programs that prohibit federal match
    • Rainy day funds, financial reserves, or outstanding debt
  • These funds come with reporting requirements. The first report will be due on April 30 2022, covering the period between the award date and March 31, 2022.

TRORC staff are available to help with eligibility questions and facilitating community dialogues about how to spend ARPA funding.

 

Brownfields

TRORC has funding to assess sites, but the state of Vermont has its own program.  There may also be federal cleanup grants available to towns.  Contact Sarah Wraight at [email protected].

 

Conservation and Environment

Grants to improve waters, conserve habitat, recycle, conserve farm or forest land, or to provide outreach and education in these areas have a variety of grants.  Contact Pete Fellows at [email protected].

State funding for service provider grants and business grants. These funds are to support the development of Vermont-based agriculture and forest products businesses. Service provider grants range from $5,000-$20,000 for projects including business planning, pilot programs, market development, etc. Business grants can range from $5,000-$150,000 depending on the grant category, for projects including research and development, infrastructure improvements, enhancing production, etc.

 

Designated Downtowns and Villages

This seven-page document is a list of grant programs in Vermont that are available to Designated Downtowns and Villages: CPR Funding Directory

Economic Development

Some Community Development Block Grants can provide business expansion loans from the Vermont Community Development Program.  These are granted to the town that applies and then loaned to the business, who in turn repays the town.  These funds then stay in the town and must be used for similar purposes.  Other types of loans and grants exist.  Please contact the Small Business Development Center

Small Grants for Smart Growth: A program run by the Vermont Natural Resources Council that offers between $500-$1500 per smart growth project. It provides seed money for community-based, local initiatives related to smart growth. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and require a two page proposal. To learn more and apply contact Kate McCarthy [email protected]

Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program USDA Rural Development provides funding to build and modernize educational, health care, food system, municipal, child care, public safety, and many more types of essential community facilities in qualified rural areas. Application Deadline: Ongoing

Working Cities Challenge Grant– Do you have a vision for your community?This is a grant competition designed to support cross-sector teams working collaboratively to build strong, healthy economies and communities in Vermont’s rural towns, regions, and small cities. Six cross-sector teams that each represent a group of rural towns, a region, or a small city in Vermont will be awarded a 4-5 month grant of $10,000-$15,000 to participate in the Planning Phase.  Three teams will be selected for implementation grants of $300K over a three year period and supported with technical assistance.

Emergency Grants

There are a variety of grants and other assistance that can help local response agencies and communities better avoid, prepare, plan for, and equip themselves to deal with the variety of emergencies they will face. Since many grants involve applications for federal funds and many local officials are volunteers who may be unfamiliar with the administrative requirements of such grants, TRORC staff are available to help communities apply for and administer grants. Contact Tory Littlefield at [email protected].

https://vem.vermont.gov/funding/mitigation

 

Energy

Contact Geoff Martin at [email protected]

 

Handicapped Access

Towns can access grants to install ramps and elevators, or planning grants to ready themselves for such applications through the Vermont Community Development Program.   Contact Tory Littlefield at [email protected].

 

Health

-RiseVT Amplify Grants (view grant for Orange or Windsor): For towns in Orange or Windsor County that have established RiseVT programs, grants from $250-1500 are available for community partners with projects that “make the healthy choice the easy choice where we live, work, learn, and play.” Rolling applications.

 

Housing

The best source of funding to actually produce affordable housing is through a Community Development Block Grant from the Vermont Community Development Program. Contact Tory Littlefield at [email protected]

 

Planning

The main source of grants for writing town plans, zoning and subdivision bylaws, and capital budgets is the Municipal Planning Grant program.  These are usually announced in the summer and due in September.

Contact Tory Littlefield at [email protected].

 

Transportation

There are both state and federal grants for highway, pedestrian, transit, and bicycling transportation projects that can fund studying a need and developing a project scope, as well as actually building projects.  Contact Rita Seto at [email protected].

Transportation Alternatives Program– State funding for projects that support transportation alternatives: routes for non-drivers, conversion of abandoned railroad, construction of viewing area, community improvement activities, environmental mitigation activities, and more. Requires a minimum of 20% match, and 50% match of total project cost for scoping studies.

 

 

Utilities and Services

Contact Tory Littlefield  at [email protected]