What is ARPA? 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, designed to deliver $350 billion to state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to bolster their response to the COVID-19 emergency and its economic impacts. 

The US Treasury Department launched the program on May 10, 2021 to make much-needed relief available to local jurisdictions to: 

  • Support urgent COVID-19 response efforts to continue to decrease spread of the virus and bring the pandemic under control; 

  • Replace lost public sector revenue to strengthen support for vital public services and help retain jobs; 

  • Support immediate economic stabilization for households and businesses, and 

  • Address systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic on certain populations. 

The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provide substantial flexibility for each jurisdiction to meet local needs—including support for households, small businesses, impacted industries, essential workers, and the communities hardest-hit by the crisis. These funds also deliver resources that recipients can invest in building, maintaining, or upgrading their water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure 

For more details on how cities can use funds, please review the Treasury Department website linked in the Resources section of this page. 

What Funds Did Portsmouth Receive? 

The City received $12.88 million in ARPA funds. The first tranche of $6,440,140 was accepted on June 21, 2021. The second tranche was accepted on April 18, 2022. See details in the documents under the votes section with the corresponding dates.


Obligated Funds

ARPA Spending History Chart


ARPA Funds Allocated to Date


On August 21, 2023, the Portsmouth City Council held a public hearing and voted to adopt a resolution appropriating $1,900,000 from City’s ARPA Grant monies to fund six projects. This use of ARPA funds is to implement certain recommendations from the COVID Recovery Task Force. City Manager and staff advanced, and the City Council approved, the following projects for ARPA fund allocations: 

  • $20,000 for Community Resource Network - to improve the existing website and to explore using technology tools to help the non-profits that already exist. 

  • $10,000 for Gas and Uber/Lyft gift cards (or similar) - to facilitate transportation to and from after school programs, medical appointments, jobs, childcare, other essential trips. 

  • $80,000 for Mobile Library Resources – to offer mobile library resources for community outreach, at parks, centers, and local events. This amount would cover the Portsmouth Public Library’s acquisition, operation and maintenance for two years of a small, storable electric vehicle referred to as a “pop-up library.” 

  • $250,000 for implementation of recommendations included in the Community Health Needs Assessment (due for completion by end of 2023) that are time-sensitive, have a defined scope/project within the budget; and are supported by partner agencies. 

  • $1,500,000 for Community Campus Non-Profit Tenant Space Realignment and Improvements – to fund critical building needs for all tenants that include the provision of security and access solutions unique to each tenant and maximization of organizational flow, space planning and energy efficiency. 

  • $40,000 in IT infrastructure to Community Campus – to build capacity and provide individual, secure needs for all users/tenants. 

On June 6, 2022, the City Council passed Resolution #14-2022 Special Revenues appropriating $1,687,600 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for various capital and rolling stock items.  

FY23 Capital outlay projects identified in the CIP – Eligible for ARPA Funding 

  • $85,000 for Durable Medical Equipment. 

  • $70,000 for Personal Protective Clothing Replacement (Fire).

  • $100,000 for Climate Action Plan.

  • $150,000 for Citywide Storm Drainage Improvements.

FY23 Rolling Stock Items Requested – Eligible for ARPA funding 

  • $187,600 for Police – Explorers (4).

  • $55,000 for Fire – SUV.

  • $140,000 for Fire – Ambulance (Year 3 of 3 funding).

FY23 IT Upgrades/Replacements Identified in the CIP – Eligible for ARPA Funding 

  • $250,000 Police – Public Safety Records Management/Computer-Aided Dispatch System.  

$650,000 is also earmarked for Police Public Safety Software in future Fiscal Years (FY24: $250,000, FY25: $250,000, and FY26: $150,000). 

On April 18, 2022, the City Council held a Public Hearing to consider the Adoption of Resolutions appropriating $5,260,000 from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Grant to pay the following: 

  • $560,000 for Multi-purpose Fields Lighting
  • $400,000  for Citywide Sidewalk Reconstruction
  • $2,000,000 for Citywide Street Paving
  • $2,300,000 for Islington Street Phase 2

The City Council also voted to obligate $65,000 in ARPA funds towards a Public Health Profile and Needs Assessment

On June 7, 2021, $400,000 in ARPA Funds were appropriated in the FY22 Budget for City Hall HVAC improvements and Citywide storm drainage improvements.