The traveling one-stop ARP shop makes four stops this fall, working its way west to east across North Carolina.
The American Rescue Plan is a big deal. It is more than a billion dollars to the cities and towns of North Carolina. It is a once-in-a-generation chance. It is an opportunity to not only recover from the pandemic, but to make transformational investments and thrive long into the future.
And, like all major opportunities, it can at times seem complex.
Since the passage of the law, the League’s goal has been to make ARP—its goals, its procedures and its requirements—as clear as possible through educational offerings and information sharing. North Carolina cities and towns have responded with strategic plans and projects catered specifically to their community’s needs (see ARP in Action).
This fall, the League and its partner organizations went a step further. They took the show on the road.
Making four stops across the state, the American Rescue Plan Expert Tour provides an opportunity for local leaders to access the state’s top ARP experts, all while staying close to home.
“The best advice, guidance and assistance available to cities and towns is all in one room,” said NCLM President and Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler, who introduced the first tour stop September 8 in Hickory, NC. “This is a rare opportunity. And while you can expect many more such events from the League of Municipalities, this is still a special and valuable opportunity. This moves our towns and our state forward.”
The Expert Tour covers every aspect of the ARP. State agencies such as the Department of Commerce and Department of Environmental Quality report on grants and available funding to cities and towns; local leaders share their own projects and plans, allowing other towns a chance to see what their regional colleagues were pursuing; and the UNC School of Government presents on key topics related to U.S. Treasury compliance and spending eligibility.
Most noteworthy, though, are the breadth of experts in the room. A truly interactive agenda, attendees had the opportunity to sit with an expert at a 1-on-1 Help Desk or ask a question to a panel, offering expertise in all areas from reporting to accounting to legal.
“It’s expected that our cities and towns have questions about projects, what strategies to pursue, and what requirements they need to be aware of. And it’s encouraging how thoughtful our leaders are being with ARP,” said NCLM’s Chris Nida, Director of Technical Assistance for Cities. “These events answer those questions and allow our towns to make the best possible investments for their community.”
The League’s American Rescue Plan Expert Tour makes stops in Hickory, Greensboro, Rocky Mount and Wallace, and continues through October. For more information, visit arp.nclm.org/events.
All photos by Ben Brown.