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Special Districts: Understanding the Special Districts 2021-2022 Funding Landscape & Emerging Opportunities

Understanding the Special Districts 2021-2022 Funding Landscape and Emerging Opportunities

This instructional webcast for special district leaders explored federal stimulus funding to support technology investments, including the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Attendees heard firsthand from e.Republic experts and special district leaders that have successfully overcome their financial constraints and tapped into new funding opportunities to sustain and innovate their operations for the future. The discussion will also featured an interactive portion for attendees to have their most pressing questions answered live.

Key Takeaways

-- Even though special districts aren’t direct recipients of ARPA fiscal relief for state and local governments, these funds are available to special districts through transfers from city, county and state governments.

-- Now is the time for special districts to forge closer relationships with their cities, counties and states. In many cases, these jurisdictions are currently deciding how to spend ARPA funds they are receiving.

-- ARPA funds may be used by special districts to support public health, improve water and sewer infrastructure, and expand broadband internet access.

-- ARPA also includes highly discretionary funds for replacing lost revenue that may be used for technology projects and cybersecurity upgrades. The Government Finance Officers Association offers an online calculator that can help districts quantify how much revenue loss is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

-- The San Joaquin Regional Transit District in northern California tapped funds from ARPA and the CARES Act to replace farebox revenue, which plummeted when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The funds enable the district to operate at near-normal levels while launching a series of pilot projects that will help it design new routes and service offerings to fit a post-pandemic world.

-- The transit district also is working to build new revenue-generating partnerships that could enable it to offer sustainable, free transit services to the community.

-- The King County Library System used $25,000 from the CARES Act to strengthen Wi-Fi signals at 45 of its 50 library locations. The improvements enabled county residents to access broadband internet from library parking lots while facilities were closed due to the pandemic.

-- The library, working with King County and a nonprofit community foundation, also tapped federal funds to deploy nearly 300 Wi-Fi hotspots at local homeless shelters.

You can download slides from the event here.


Gloria Salazar, Chief Executive Officer, San Joaquin Regional Transit District
Angelina Benedetti, Interim Director of Library Outreach, Programs and Services for the King County Library System (KCLS), King County, WA
Joe Morris, Deputy Chief Innovation Officer, e.Republic
Dustin Haisler — Moderator, Chief Innovation Officer, e.Republic