Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued official allocation amounts from the American Rescue Plan Act for non-entitlement communities, generally defined as municipal governments with populations under 50,000.

The updated guidance reflects months of work by the Treasury to accurately account for more than 19,000 non-entitlement communities across the country. There are 313 non-entitlement communities in Massachusetts.

See spreadsheet with Populations and Allocation Amounts for Non-Entitlement Communities of Massachusetts (Excel file – Source: Treasury Department)

The American Rescue Plan, the latest round of federal stimulus relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic, was signed into law on March 11 and provides $360 billion in direct aid to state and local governments, including county governments, “Metropolitan Cities” (generally cities with populations greater than 50,000), and non-entitlement communities.

Two weeks ago, the Treasury announced final allocation amounts for states, counties and Metropolitan Cities, of which there are 38 in Massachusetts.

Yesterday’s announcement gives clarity to the allocations that non-entitlement cities and towns can expect to receive. The formula for non-entitlement units of government is their 2019 population number according to the U.S. Census multiplied by $104.67. The Treasury’s website has more information for non-entitlement communities. (Note: This total does not include any county allocation.)

Non-functioning county governments
Compared to much of the country, Massachusetts is unique in that it has only five functioning county government structures among the state’s 14 counties.

Functioning counties in Massachusetts (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk and Plymouth) will receive their allocation directly from the U.S. Treasury, through the same process used for counties nationwide.

Where county government has been abolished (Berkshire, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Nantucket, Suffolk and Worcester), the county’s share of funds will initially be allocated to the state and then distributed to the county’s communities on a per capita basis.

State officials report that they have also already applied to the Treasury on behalf of the communities in non-functioning counties.

How and when will funds be distributed?
Payments for states, counties, Metro Cities, and non-entitlement communities will be evenly divided into two tranches, with the first being allocated in the coming weeks and the second round arriving 12 months after the first.

States, counties, and Metro Cities will receive their payments directly from the U.S. Treasury, while funding to non-entitlement communities will be distributed first to the respective state government for redistribution to communities.

State officials report that the state has already applied to the Treasury on behalf of the non-entitlement communities, and that those funds will be distributed through the same pipeline that is used to distribute the state’s local aid to municipalities. The ARPA requires states to allocate the first tranche of funds to non-entitlement communities within 30 days of receipt. Further details will be announced through the Division of Local Services.

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