American Rescue Plan Act
About the Act
In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a COVID-19 relief package. This Act includes billions in federal funding for state and local governments. This federal aid is intended to address economic impacts of the pandemic and ensure a strong and equitable recovery.
COVID-19 American Rescue Plan Act Advisory Committee
Public input is the cornerstone of good governance. Determined to utilize these onetime federal resources wisely, Ottawa County formed the American Rescue Plan Act Committee. Appointed by the Board of Commissioners, the Committee is comprised of community members representing a cross-section of local public and private organizations. The Committee's sole purpose is to guide how the $57 million in ARPA monies will be distributed.
Have an idea?
If you have an idea for an ARPA project, we'd love to hear it!
Meet the Committee
The Committee members represent a range of industry sectors, including (but not limited to): local government; charitable foundations economic development; nonprofit; and human services agencies. Through a careful review process, these community leaders will assist with drafting funding options and priorities for the County Board Finance & Administration Standing Committee and the Board of Commissioners.
Board Member/Title Sector Roger Bergman
Commissioner, District 10
County Commissioner Joseph Baumann
Commissioner, District 2
County Commissioner Keith Van Beek
Manager, Holland City
Local Unit of Government Adam Elenbaas**
Supervisor, Allendale Charter Township
Local Unit of Government Terry Nienhuis
Supervisor, Holland Charter Township
Local Unit of Government Jennifer Owens
President, Lakeshore Advantage
Economic Development Joy Gaasch
President, Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce
Local Chamber Elizabeth Butler
Director of Economic Development Strategic Directions, Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce
Local Chamber Hadley Streng
President Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
Foundation Holly Cole
Vice President of Grants & Programs, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
Foundation Mike Goorhouse
President/CEO, Community Foundation Holland/Zeeland Area
Foundation Randy Kortering
Interim President, Greater Ottawa County United Way
Social/Human Services Patrick Cisler
Executive Director, Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance & Community Spoke
Social/Human Services Gloria Lara
Executive Director, Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance
Social/Human Services Ryan Kilpatrick
Executive Director, Housing Next
Economic Development/Housing Dr. Dale Nesbary
President, Muskegon Community College
Higher Education Tina Dee
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Muskegon Community College
Higher Education Karen Karasinski
Director, Fiscal Services
County Robyn Afrik
Director, Diversity Equity & Inclusion
County John Shay
County Paul Sachs
Director, Department of Strategic Impact
** Mark Bennett, Supervisor, Tallmadge Township, serves as alternate
The goal of the Committee is to thoughtfully distribute the $57 million to areas of need which will generate quantifiable and positive outcomes. To achieve this, committee members and Ottawa County Department of Strategic Impact staff developed "Lenses of Focus" as a means to guide its decision-making process for assessing and selecting projects to receive ARPA funds. The lenses offer the basis for recommendations that facilitate communication among the Committee and the Board of Commissioners to ensure the best and most impactful projects are selected from across the County.
The Lenses of Focus for Project Evaluation
Besides meeting basic eligibility criteria, priority will be placed on projects that satisfy these five "Lenses":
The project is designed to address a known and demonstrated need.
The project addresses a needed change in societal opportunity and/ or eliminates disparities and gaps in opportunities for underserved and underrepresented populations.
The project would not otherwise materialize without a significant infusion of County ARPA dollars.
The opportunity for the project to sustain itself long-term after the initial infusion of ARPA dollars is legitimate.
The long-term, transformational impact of the project, including its return on investment based on verified outcome-based results, can be quantified.
Committee members have identified needs within their area of expertise and are assisting County officials with drafting funding options and priorities. To ensure projects funded by federal ARPA dollars benefit all who live and work in Ottawa County, the Committee identified (beyond local government lost revenue, which is an eligible expense of ARPA funds) the five categories, or “buckets”, of high-level priorities:
Overseeing these categories are who the Committee has coined “bucket managers” — individuals or organizations identified by the Committee. Following a transparent Request For Proposals process, the County Board of Commissioners have selected the following nonprofit organizations to manage three of the five bucket categories:
- Lakeshore Advantage will manage Business Stabilization
- HousingNext will support Affordable Housing
- Care Ottawa (a collaboration between the Community Foundation of the Holland/ Zeeland Area; Grand Haven Area Community Foundation; and the Greater Ottawa County United Way) will identify critical Social/Human Service Needs
- County staff will serve as bucket managers for County Initiatives and Countywide Broadband categories
These organizations will work in the community to solicit applications for funding; however, final project/funding approvals will go through the Board of Commissioners.
Funding Distribution and Project Updates
Bucket managers considering viable projects
The County Board of Commissioners approved bucket managers for Business Stabilization, Affordable Housing, and Social/Human Service needs on June 28, 2022. These bucket managers are now accepting project applications for a first round of ARPA funding through the summer of 2022.
Using the ‘Lenses of Focus’ and data collected from the community survey, bucket managers will then vet submitted applications by the end of 2022. Once the first round of projects are determined and funded, the County will consider additional submittals.
Submit a project
Interested in formally submitting a project? Please share your plan with the appropriate bucket manager.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a final rule to implement ARPA statutory provisions on eligible and ineligible uses of ARPA funds. Eligible uses include replacing revenue lost to local governments because of the pandemic.
By exploring all eligible uses of funds and carefully fulfilling all requirements, the County will ensure all ARPA dollars are used to support projects in the most financially responsible way possible.
Read more about federal requirements:
U.S. Department of the Treasury Final Rule Overview document
- More Information