Anchorage changes ARPA rules for $100M in grants
Municipality now requiring recipients to report whether groups met goals
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Municipality of Anchorage has released its 2023 report on how federal American Rescue Plan Act grants distributed by the municipality are being used.
ARPA grants totaling more than $100 million were appropriated by the Anchorage Assembly in 2021 and then distributed by the administration, according to the report.
The grants were divided into two groups: The first tranche, or portion, was given to 92 grantees starting in 2021. The second was provided to 72 grantees beginning in 2022.
All of the money came from the federal government, but the municipality is responsible for making sure the money is properly spent.
By law, the municipality must post on its website what is called a State and Local Fiscal Recover Funds annual report.
In its 2022 report, Anchorage conceded it had not required those receiving grants to list what are called Key Performance Indicators. Those are used to measure whether the grant accomplished its purpose. Without KPIs, it’s difficult to judge the success or failure of a grant.
However, in the 2023 report, Anchorage did demand and then report KPIs for those getting grants.
What is not clear yet is how the city is checking the claims of those getting grants.
Mayor Dave Bronson’s newly-appointed Chief Financial Officer Alden Thern said there is a multi-year process for getting that done.
“I think that the goal of the Treasury Department for the United States is to try to have some kind of a metrics that identifies how successful spending that money was in the communities, and that’s why they require it to be in that annual report,” Thern said. “We do have our contractor who works with all the sub-recipients in gathering that and we’ll continue to gather that as we go on.”
But Thern says he can not assess the overall success of the grants.
Bronson echoed that sentiment.
“Well some expenditures were good, and some were not,” Bronson said.
“There’s so many projects, there were so many people and organizations getting money, federal pass-through money, state pass-through money through us. I don’t know. I don’t have an opinion,” Bronson added.
The total amount of money dispersed by Anchorage through ARPA funding will be $103,317,366 by the time the last grants are issued before the end of September.
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