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Idaho cities can start applying for $54 million in federal relief funds

Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
Otto Kitsinger
Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Dollars can be used for COVID response or certain types of infrastructure

Idaho cities with populations of fewer than 50,000 people will begin receiving their share of $54 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, Gov. Brad Little and State Controller Brandon Woolf announced Monday in a press release.

Almost all Idaho cities have a population small enough to be eligible for the funds.

Little and the Idaho Legislature unanimously accepted the federal funding, which will be used by local governments to respond to COVID-19 or to invest in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

The $54 million is the first portion of funding that will be distributed to Idaho cities. The same amount will be distributed to cities next year in a second round of funding, according to the release.

“From the start, I emphasized the need to direct the billions of dollars allocated for Idaho from the American Rescue Plan Act into long-range investments that will benefit our children and grandchildren,” Little said in the release. “I urge cities to leverage these dollars for investments that will reduce the property tax burden that Idahoans will face in the future.”

At the request of the Idaho Legislature and Little, the State Controller’s Office developed a new ARPA portal on the Transparent Idaho website for eligible cities to use to receive the Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, the release said.

“The State of Idaho was better prepared to receive, distribute, and report on CARES Act funding thanks to the robust Transparent Idaho portal,” Woolf said in the release. “I am proud to expand Transparent Idaho’s functionality to funnel ARPA funding to cities across our great state.”

Unlike the relief funding from CARES Act grants in 2020, the state is not the primary recipient of this funding and will not review expenses for eligibility. The state will act as a pass-through entity for distribution purposes only, according to the release.

If an entity wants to receive ARPA funds and didn’t previously register to receive CARES Act funding, it will be required to register through the ARPA portal at Transparent.Idaho.Gov.

After registering, entities are required to complete a request for funding. Call the Idaho State Controller’s Office at 208-334-3100 for assistance over the phone if necessary.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.