The San Carlos Apache Tribe announces that it had received notice on Friday May 28, 2021 from the U.S. Department of Treasury that it had calculated and processed the Tribe’s allocation for the first phase payment to be made from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF) pursuant to the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The allocation totals $79,720,217.40.

Chairman Terry Rambler said, “With this first payment our Tribe can continue its journey toward health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Prior to receiving monies from the ARPA-CSLFRF, the San Carlos Council, the Tribe’s governing body, passed Motion Nos. 074-2021, 075-2021, 076-2021 and 119-2021 earmarking and obligating a total of $67.08 million as follows: $24.07 million for Emergency Economic Assistance Payments; $36 million for a long-term COVID-19 health care facility with a new water well; $6.6 million for renovations to Apache Gold Casino Hotel, which was used during the pandemic as an alternate care facility; and $452,000 for the KYAY-FM radio station facilities and equipment to continue critical communication to the public.

Chairman Rambler continued, “The US Treasury has informed us they have processed our payment. The payment will electronically be transferred to our bank account. Once we receive the funds, our Finance Department will immediately distribute the first $500 Emergency Economic Assistance Payments to our tribal members. There is no need to wait on these payments to our tribal members. Our Council has put our people first. Our Tribal Treasurer will work with our Health Care Corporation, Gaming Enterprise, and General Manager’s Office on the distribution of funds for the construction of our new Nursing Home and renovations of our Hotel and Radio Station. I am so very happy for our people.”

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) (P.L. 117-2), a nearly $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, consists of payments for certain purposes and several tax provisions.

The ARPA expands and extends many provisions originally enacted under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”) (P.L. 116-127), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act (P.L. 116-136) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (“CAA”) (P.L. 116-260).

Among other provisions, Section 9901 of the ARPA established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”), which will deliver $20 billion in funding for federally recognizes tribes. The funds are intended to help tribes turn the tide on the pandemic, address the economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery. Under the Treasury’s allocation process, the first CSLFRF payment represents 65% of the total to be distributed and was based on the Tribe’s enrollment base. The remaining 35% will be distributed based upon employment data. The Tribe has until June 21, 2021 to confirm or amend its employment numbers.

The Council met on May 24 – 25, 2021 for the purposes of developing a strategic plan for the remainder of ARPA funds that were not earmarked. ARPA identifies four areas where funding can be assigned:

  • Workers and Families, including assistance to unemployed workers and for job training; food and housing, cash and other assistance to households; and survivor’s benefits for family members of COVID-19 victims;
  • Small businesses, including loans and grants to mitigate financial hardship; loans and grants and in-kind assistance to implement COVID-19 prevention or mitigation tactics; and technical assistance;
  • Public Sector, including funds to rehire staff and administer economic relief programs; and
  • Impacted industries, including funds and programs for tourism, travel and hospitality sectors as well as other similarly affected sectors.

Treasury considers the following additional activities as eligible uses when provided within disproportionately impacted communities:

  • Addressing health disparities, including among community health workers and public benefit navigators, remediation of lead paint and other lead hazards, community violence intervention programs;
  • Investing in housing and neighborhoods, including services to support individuals experiencing homelessness, affordable housing development, and housing vouchers, residential counseling and navigation assistance;
  • Addressing educational disparities, including new or expanded early learning services, expanded resources for high-poverty school districts, educational services like tutoring and afterschool programs as well as supports for social, emotional and mental health needs; and
  • Promoting healthy childhood environments, including new or expanded high quality childcare, home visiting programs for families with young children and services for child welfare-involved families and foster youth.

In addition, tribes may use ARPA funds to make necessary investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. The State of Arizona also will receive ARPA funds and may offer program funding that the Tribe may tap. Tribal departments will also receive ARPA funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Services, Housing & Urban Development, Department of Education, Department of Health & Human Services, and other federal agencies.

ARPA funds may be used to replace the Tribe’s revenue loss and as a way to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Interim Final Rule establishes a clear and consistent methodology that the Tribe can use to calculate its reduction in revenue. The Final Interim Rule allows tribes to calculate the revenue loss of tribes’ enterprises in their total revenue loss.

As interpreted by Treasury, the timeline to use the ARPA-CSFLRF funds include a December 31, 2024 deadline to obligate the funds.

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