Relief Has Arrived: The Latest Guidance on Using Recovery Funds from the American Rescue Plan
Recorded On: 05/17/2021
Since the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11, questions have mounted about local governments’ use of its resources. Among its many provisions, the ARP authorized over $130 billion in direct, flexible relief to municipalities and counties. On May 10, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act. Treasury also released the Interim Final Rule for the program that describes eligible uses for funding. These include responding to acute pandemic-response needs, filling revenue shortfalls, and supporting the communities and populations hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
On Monday, May 17, ICMA will host a webinar bringing local leaders up to date on this latest guidance on the allowable uses of the funds and reporting requirements. A team from The Ferguson Group, a Washington, DC-based lobbying firm representing local governments and public agencies and an ICMA Strategic Partner, will highlight:
- Treasury’s latest guidance on eligible projects and costs, including water and sewer, road improvements, and working with nonprofit groups
- What non-entitlement communities (under 50,000 population) can do to prepare and what they can expect from their state’s distribution
- Practical tips for planning and documenting your spending to meet reporting requirements
The panel will respond as possible to additional live questions.
- Elizabeth Kellar, Director of Public Policy, ICMA
- Roger Gwinn, CEO, The Ferguson Group
- Kristi More, Managing Partner for Strategic Development, The Ferguson Group
- Jennifer Imo, Managing Partner for Client Services, The Ferguson Group
- Zach Israel, Principal, The Ferguson Group
Thanks to the sponsorship of ICMA Strategic Partner The Ferguson Group, this webinar is complimentary for ICMA Members.
Director of Public Policy and Disaster Recovery Programs, ICMA
Elizabeth Kellar is Director of Public Policy and Disaster Recovery programs for the International City/County Management Association; she also has served as Deputy Executive Director overseeing all of ICMA's operations, programs, and business strategies. She is Senior Fellow for the Center for State and Local Government Excellence after serving as the President/CEO from 2006-2016. She speaks and writes about workforce, retirement, ethics, and intergovernmental issues for a variety of audiences.
Beth is a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration and has served as chair for NAPA's Standing Panel on the Federal System. She began her career with the City of Sunnyvale, California.
CEO, The Ferguson Group
Roger, TFG’s CEO, oversees the management of the firm and overall operations, including the delivery of client services and the development of new offerings to address the evolving needs of clients. Roger represents public agency and private interests specializing in water and environmental policy issues, water resources, community development, and technology. A nationally-recognized water infrastructure expert, Roger is known for creating and executing innovative and successful strategies to meet the challenging and complex needs of clients.
Roger is an expert in the budget and appropriations processes and was recognized by Influence Magazine as one of Washington’s six “Top Gun” appropriations lobbyists. Roger spent 15 years on Capitol Hill, serving two members of Congress and as an associate staff member on the House Committee on Appropriations.
Roger leads the firm’s representation of large-scale, regional water resources, environmental protection and economic development initiatives. Roger helped launch federal efforts to support restoration and protection of the Puget Sound and, ultimately, the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, which has steered just under $1 billion to this multi-state ecosystem restoration effort since FY 2000. He has worked with dozens of communities nationwide to help them secure hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds for storm water, wastewater and drinking water system improvements. For example, he helped one rural community secure more than $80 million in federal assistance to help defray the local construction costs of a new regional drinking water facility. In addition, Roger has led the firm’s representation of regional scale water reuse projects, including one where seven public agencies in three counties are collaborating on a comprehensive regional water reuse program to help address water quality concerns and the water supply needs of agriculture, urban areas and the environment.
A long-time advocate of federal support for low-cost, long-term financing for water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure projects, such as the financing that has been provided in the recently proposed Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (WIFIA), Roger leads TFG’s efforts to improve existing policies and enact new legislation to broaden access to federal grants and create new financing options to help deal with the complex water challenges of today and tomorrow.
Roger was a member of the inaugural class of the Stennis Congressional Staff Fellows Program. He is among the founders of eCivis, the nation's leader in online grants information and grants management for local governments. Roger earned his B.A. in Political Science from North Carolina State University.
Managing Partner for Strategic Development, The Ferguson Group
Kristi More joined TFG in 2000 and specializes in water, flood, transportation, economic and rural development, law enforcement, and federal funding for local governments. Prior to joining TFG, she worked for a California state representative, for the District of Columbia Office of the Corporation Counsel concentrating on legal and legislative issues concerning the abuse and neglect of children and the elderly, and for the California Cattlemen’s Association focusing on land, water, and air quality concerns surrounding the beef industry.
Kristi is based in TFG’s Northern California office and primarily works on behalf of local governments and public agencies in the Western United States. Since joining TFG, Kristi has concentrated on expanding the firm’s services to rural areas. Born and raised in a small, rural community in California that is abundant in natural resources and federal lands, Kristi understands the delicate balance rural areas face when trying to address the needs of their citizens. Kristi has worked to develop working relationships between Congress, federal agencies, and her rural clients. These relationships have benefited rural communities through direct appropriations, authorizations, grants, and regulatory relief as well as contributed to the congressional offices gaining a better understanding of the unique problems and needs of rural America.
Kristi also has a strong background in agriculture and water and natural resource related issues and brings her professional experience in these areas to her work on behalf of urban, suburban, and rural clients. She has led a unique partnership of regional water purveyors for almost a decade as they work collaboratively to balance water resources in their area, including developing strong partnerships with the local and federal offices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation. Kristi received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis. She completed the Water Education Foundation’s Water Leader training and has been an invited speaker on the federal appropriations and grant processes. Kristi also serves TFG as the Managing Partner for Strategic Development.
Outside of work, Kristi and her husband keep busy following their two sons around to various sports fields and courts. She served as President of her local Rotary International Club in 2015-2016 and is a current member of the Board of Directors for her city’s Little League and youth football leagues.
Managing Partner for Client Services, The Ferguson Group
Jennifer Imo, a partner at TFG and member of the firm’s management committee, represents local governments with a focus on community and economic development, transportation, public works, criminal justice, and public safety. In addition to representing individual city and county governments, she serves as the Federal Director of NATaT, a local government advocacy group that represents the interests of more than 10,000 towns and townships across the country. Jennifer will continue to serve as the client manager and primary point of contact for Wake County.
Jennifer provides strategic consulting and federal advocacy services for her clients, helping them find innovative ways to address local issues and fund local priority projects. As a result of her successful strategizing and strong relationships with congressional offices and the federal agencies, Jennifer’s clients have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in federal appropriations, authorizations, competitive grants, and cost savings in the 18 years she has been with TFG. TFG provided federal advocacy and grant services to Loudoun County, VA from January 2015 to December 2018, during which time the County enjoyed a 63:1 return on investment. Jennifer served as the client manager during that time. The County is still a grants client, but the Board of Supervisors decided not to renew the advocacy contract. That decision was not based on the level of service provided to the County received, but the Board chose to contract with an international law firm.
Jennifer has fostered productive relationships between her clients, various federal agencies, and White House staff over the course of several administrations. One example is the hiring of Robert Mariner as he was leaving USDOT. The two had worked together for many years and developed such a good rapport that Robert was happy to jump on board with TFG. On behalf of NATaT, Jennifer led an effort to secure bipartisan Congressional and federal agency support for an initiative that repealed a costly unfunded mandate on state and local governments related to road sign replacement. In addition, she facilitated a working relationship between the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and a local government to develop a program for displaced workers who lost their jobs in furniture and textile plant closings. She also negotiated an agreement between the Federal Transit Administration and a community that enabled city leaders to spend congressionally-appropriated funds immediately instead of having to wait for the lengthy disbursement process, ensuring that an important project was not delayed.
Jennifer lobbies Congress on a variety of legislative issues of interest to local governments. She works closely with groups like NACo, NLC, USCM, ICMA, GFOA, and others to affect legislation that touches many aspects of local government. She has worked closely with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to draft and promote legislation that benefits departments across the country. Jennifer often speaks at conferences and on webinars on a variety of local issues, focusing primarily on helping communities access federal support for local priorities and initiatives.
She earned her B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her J.D. from Wake Forest University. She joined TFG in 2002 after working as a litigation associate at Moore and Van Allen, PLLC in Charlotte, NC.
Principal, The Ferguson Group
Zach Israel is a Principal and Manager of Legislative Affairs at The Ferguson Group, specializing in serving local government clients with policy, funding, and regulatory expertise. His policy areas of focus include, but are not limited to, appropriations, transportation, water infrastructure, agriculture, homeland security, energy and environment, and housing. In his role as Principal, Zach works closely with local government staff and elected officials to ensure that their community receives robust federal funding and benefits from public policies and legislation that improve the lives of their residents. Zach has a solid track record of effectively delivering funding and policy successes for clients while working in partnership with Congressional and Administration staff.
As Manager of Legislative Affairs, Zach closely tracks, monitors, and reports on all legislative activity that takes place within Congress, including the annual appropriations process, Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), surface transportation reauthorization, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization, and any other legislation impacting local governments, including infrastructure-related bills. Zach also writes and publishes TFG’s weekly Legislative Update, which provides substantive news and analysis on Congressional activity.
Prior to joining The Ferguson Group in May of 2015, Zach worked in the Government Affairs department at the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) in Washington, DC, the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. He conducted policy and legal research on various issues relating to federal and state financial regulation, investor protection, and securities matters in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and educated members of Congress and their staff on issues of importance to NASAA. Zach also previously served as the Field Director and Policy Research Associate on a Congressional campaign in his native New Jersey and, during college, interned for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and former Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Scott Murphy (D-NY).
Zach is also an elected official in Washington, DC, having been elected as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for Single Member District 4D04 on November 3, 2020 and took office beginning January 2, 2021. Zach received his B.A. in Political Studies from Bard College, and lives in Washington, DC with his wife Juliana and son Elliot.