MRB Group’s Michael N’dolo, Director of Economic Development, and Matt Horn, Director of Municipal Services, recently joined forces with the Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council (GFLRPC) to host informational Roundtables for community leaders regarding the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA/CLFRF) funding.

According to Horn and N’dolo, the goal is to provide more beneficial information – and practical guidance.

“While communities are welcoming the financial support they are receiving through ARPA, most are justifiably concerned by a long list of unanswered questions about the requirements associated with the funds,” said Horn, referencing the less-than-clear documentation released by the US Treasury.

“We hope to shed some light on this, so communities can maximize the use of these funds, and get important projects completed,” he said.

Two Roundtable events were held, with participation by roughly 75 individuals for each Roundtable.  Many shared questions and comments concerning limited knowledge about the funding, the required reporting, and what might qualify as an eligible project.

Both Horn and N’dolo provided a summary of the information released thus far, and urged leaders to “take a breath.”  They recommend communities utilize the significant amount of time allotted by the Treasury before the funds must be expended to plan strategically for their optimal use.

A recurring question centered on anticipated requirements for grant administration.  “We believe there are ways for communities to minimize the time and funds or resources spent on compliance,” said N’dolo.  “It may be far less than anyone is expecting,” he said.   Many participants responded with appreciation for the insight and reassurance provided.  “This will be do-able!” said N’dolo.

“We wanted to bring people together on this issue and get everyone talking,” said Jay Gsell, Executive Director of the GFLRPC.

“Members were relating a tremendous amount of anxiety about compliance with the requirements in the (American Rescue Plan) Act,” Gsell said.

“The greatest benefit of the Roundtables is creating a knowledge base,” Horn continued.  “Knowing that others are wrestling with the same issues can be extremely helpful.  Learning from the experience of others is far more valuable than blazing a trail alone,” he stated.

“We got a lot of positive feedback from those who participated, and hope others continue to benefit from the resource,” Horn concluded.  MRB Group recorded the ARPA Roundtables for those who were not able to attend.  To access the programs, visit MRB Group’s Resources page on the firm’s website, mrbgroup.com.

MRB Group team members currently assist more than 150 communities with day-to-day operations, including long term planning and engineering for maintenance of critical assets like water and wastewater treatment, support for public works services, and architecture for rehabilitation of public facilities. MRB Group’s support for municipal operations includes strategic and capital planning, planning board services, and both community and economic development. More information can be found at www.mrbgroup.com and at www.smarterlocalgov.com .