As we continue to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the local, national, and global economies work diligently to reopen and rebuild, the new American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) will provide some much-needed relief to American families and businesses, including those right here in Denton, Texas.
Direct Aid to the City of Denton
As part of the ARPA local government assistance package, the City of Denton will receive $23.29 million in federal aid across two years. Half of this funding ($11.65 million) is available as of May 2021, and the remaining half will be available in May 2022. The Act states that funding can be used to:
- Respond to COVID-19 or its Economic Impacts;
- Replace revenues lost due to COVID-19;
- Provide premium pay to eligible essential workers; and
- Invest in water, sewer, storm water, and broadband infrastructure.
In determining how to allocate this funding, the City will focus on projects and uses that address immediate needs, create solutions that are sustainable, and achieve long-term benefits.
On Tuesday, May 25, the Denton City Council received a presentation and discussed potential uses of the ARPA funding. In that meeting the Council indicated an initial preference to prioritize and use the funding to support public health resources and reduce the negative economic impacts of the pandemic. The Council also supported hearing feedback from the community regarding these funds before deciding upon funding allocations for the first half of this funding.
The presentation delivered to the Denton City Council is available in the sidebar resources of this page. Video of the Council discussion is available HERE
The City collected input on the uses for this funding through a survey that was open from Tuesday, June 8 through Friday, June 18, 2021.
Community Funding Opportunities
Below, we have provided a brief overview of select benefits provided by the ARPA. To learn more about the ARPA, visit any of the links below.
Local Eviction and Utility Assistance
The United Way of Denton County Eviction Prevention Program was created to help Denton County renters avoid eviction and stay in their homes while also helping property managers and landlords avoid the eviction process. In addition to eviction assistance, this program also offers assistance with utility payments. Please visit www.unitedwaydenton.org/eviction-prevention
or call (940) 566-5851.
The City of Denton also offers utility assistance for its utility customers. To request assistance, please call (940) 349-8700
Economic Impact Payments
Those eligible will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $1,400 for individuals or $2,800 for married couples, plus $1,400 for each dependent. Unlike the prior rounds of Economic Impact Payments, families will get a payment for all of their dependents claimed on a tax return, not just their qualifying children under 17.
To track the status of your payment with the Internal Revenue Service, visit their Get My Payment Tool
Recover direct payments from past stimulus payments you did not receive but qualified for when you file your 2020 taxes with the Internal Revenue Service’s Recovery Rebate Credit
Source: The U.S. Department of the Treasury
Child Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit will substantially reduce child poverty by supplementing the earnings of families receiving the tax credit. Specifically, the Child Tax Credit has been revised in the following ways:
Source: The U.S. Department of the Treasury
- The credit amount has been increased. The American Rescue Plan increased the amount of the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6, and $3,000 for other children under age 18.
- The credit’s scope has been expanded. Children 17 years old and younger, as opposed to 16 years old and younger, will now be covered by the Child Tax Credit.
- Credit amounts will be made through advance payments during 2021. Individuals eligible for a 2021 Child Tax Credit will receive advance payments of the individual’s credit, which the IRS and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service will make through periodic payments from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2021. This change will allow struggling families to receive financial assistance now, rather than waiting until the 2022 tax filing season to receive the Child Tax Credit benefit.
- The credit is now fully refundable. By making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable, low- income households will be entitled to receive the full credit benefit, as significantly expanded and increased by the American Rescue Plan.
- The credit is now extended to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories. For the first time, low- income families residing in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories will receive this vital financial assistance to better support their children’s development and health and educational attainment.
Emergency Broadband Program
The $3.4 billion Emergency Broadband Program provides a monthly discount of $50 off the standard rate for broadband service and associated equipment and a $100 discount for a connection device. Eligible households are those at or below 135% of the federal poverty level, have at least one member eligible for Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, federal housing assistance, veterans or survivors benefits, have at least one member receiving free or reduced price school meals or a Pell Grant, has experienced a documented substantial loss of income, or meets the low-income criteria of the broadband provider. Funds are available through FY 2031 or until exhausted.
To learn more and to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, visit www.getemergencybroadband.org
Emergency Connectivity Fund
The $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund is built on the existing E-Rate program that provides reimbursement of expenses associated with bringing advanced services to schools and librarians. Congress expanded the program to allow funds to be used to bring services to student, faculty, and library patrons at locations other than schools or libraries.
The application window will open in summer of 2021. For a summary of the program, click here
Capital Projects Fund
The Capital Projects Fund takes critical steps to addressing the challenges brought on by the pandemic, especially in rural America and low- and moderate-income communities, helping to ensure that all communities have access to the high-quality, modern infrastructure needed to thrive, including internet access.
Homeowner Assistance Fund
The American Rescue Plan provides nearly $10 billion for states, territories, and Tribes to provide relief for our country’s most vulnerable homeowners. This includes:
- A minimum of $50 million for each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico;
- $30 million for the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;
- An explicit mandate to prioritize socially disadvantaged households;
The law prioritizes those homeowners that have experienced the greatest hardships, leveraging local and national income indicators to maximize intended impact. Applicable funding uses include delinquent mortgage payments, allowing Americans across the country to take a step in the right direction toward household stabilization. These necessary actions will minimize foreclosures in the coming months, alleviate emergency shelter capacity, and mitigate potential COVID-19 infections.
Emergency Rental Assistance
The American Rescue Plan provides $21.6 billion for states, territories, and local governments to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 crisis. This includes:
- A minimum of $152 million for each state and the District of Columbia;
- $305 million for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa;
- $2.5 billion for payments to “high-need grantees,” locations with an urgent need for assistance when factoring conditions such as change in employment, concentration of very low-income renters, and rental market costs
State Small Business Credit Initiative
The American Rescue Plan will provide emergency grants, lending, and investment to hard-hit small businesses so they can rehire and retain workers and purchase the health and sanitation equipment they need to keep workers safe. The Plan also includes a Small Business Opportunity Fund to provide growth capital to main street small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses.
For small business guidance and loan resources, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s resource page
Employee Retention Credit and Paid Leave Credit Programs
The American Rescue Plan extends the availability of the Employee Retention Credit for small businesses through December 2021 and allows businesses to offset their current payroll tax liabilities by up to $7,000 per employee per quarter. This credit of up to $28,000 per employee for 2021 is available to small businesses who have seen their revenues decline, or even been temporarily shuttered, due to COVID.
The American Rescue Plan also extends through September 2021 the availability of Paid Leave Credits for small and midsize businesses that offer paid leave to employees who may take leave due to illness, quarantine, or caregiving. Businesses can take dollar-for-dollar tax credits equal to wages of up to $5,000 if they offer paid leave to employees who are sick or quarantining. Paid Leave Credits are a powerful incentive to encourage the offer of paid sick and family leave, which will help keep the virus under control by ensuring sick employees can stay home.