City beginning review of ARPA applications from community agencies

The City of Great Falls received 34 applications for its American Rescue Plan Act funds that total $10,464,425.81.

The City Commission decided in May to cap the ARPA funds for community grants at $3 million.

Applications were due July 15.

Tom Hazen, the city’s grants administrator, has begun reviewing the applications for completeness and eligibility.

Next a review committee will review and score the applications using scoring matrix that the commission adopted and was included in the applications, which were published in February. That process will begin in early August and Hazen anticipates will take about 60 days.

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The committee, which includes staff from finance, legal, fire and planning, will make a recommendation for funding to the city manager for review before the recommendations are presented to the commission for approval, Hazen said.

The smallest request submitted to the city was for $48,000 and the largest was for $1.4 million, Hazen told commissioners during the July 19 work session. Seven requests were for $500,000 or more and six were for $50,000 or less.

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Nine of the applications were from agencies that received ARPA funding from Cascade County, but not necessarily for the same project or program, Hazen said.

Requests were for a wide range of programs and projects, Hazen said.

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About 10 were for capital improvement projects and 16 were for programs designed to impact the low to moderate income population in the community.

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Hazen said that applicants have been told that they could receive partial funding versus their full request.

Hazen organized several question and answer sessions for applicants earlier this year and walked them through the application and requirements for the funding, which fall under federal rules.

The application also asked whether the agency had applied or received other funding for the project. Hazen said that could be a factor in funding decisions, particularly if two projects tie under the scoring matrix and one has already received other funding.