On September 29, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the release of Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund (LATCF) payments to counties. The LATCF provides $1.5 billion in two equal payments of $750 million for FYs 2022 and 2023 to “eligible revenue sharing counties” under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). NACo has worked with Congress and the administration since March 2021 to ensure the final distribution formula reflects the original intent of the LATCF to support counties with federal lands within their jurisdiction.
Treasury developed a payment formula based on the federal acreage within each unit of local government, as defined by the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and the Refuge Revenue Sharing program under the US Fish and Wildlife Service, with population levels and various economic conditions (historic poverty levels, unemployment, etc.) also factored in as required by statute. Treasury also set an annual minimum payment of $50,000 and a maximum of $6 million per county with an overall payment cap of $300 per resident.
A total of 2,086 local governments—including the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—are considered eligible revenue sharing counties under the LATCF formula. The FY 2022 payment is immediately available, while the second payment will be made sometime in calendar year 2023.
Treasury’s online portal provides application instructions and information on specific funding levels for each eligible county. It will take approximately four to five business days for Treasury to review and process payment applications. Each county’s designated point of contact will receive further information on the timing and amount of the first payment. The deadline for counties to apply through the online portal is January 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM AKST. Should a county miss the application deadline, it will not be eligible for any LATCF payments.
ELIGIBLE USES AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
ARPA states that LATCF funds are available “for any governmental purpose other than a lobbying activity.” These funds can be treated like general revenue funds or PILT payments. Examples of eligible uses include economic development, affordable housing, transportation infrastructure, and emergency services. Counties can find more information on eligible uses and funding requirements in the Treasury LATCF Guidance from July.
Treasury also clarified that federal Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rate requirements will not apply to projects funded by LATCF, except for construction projects in Washington, D.C., nor will receipt of funds automatically trigger any NEPA requirements, though NEPA and other environmental laws will apply as normally mandated by those individual laws. Counties can transfer and pool funds for specific projects, so long as the funds are used and tracked in a manner consistent with the law, and can use LATCF dollars to meet non-federal matching requirements for other federal programs.
Infrastructure projects financed under the LATCF are subject to the domestic procurement requirements of the Build America, Buy America Act. Non-infrastructure projects or infrastructure projects undertaken in response to COVID-19 are not required to follow these same provisions. However, Treasury announced a waiver from Build America, Buy America’s procurement requirements for payments made to counties within the first six months of the LATCF distribution. If your county applies for its share of funds within the first six months of the program, your LATCF dollars will be waived from Build America, Buy America.
Counties receiving LATCF funding must submit an annual Obligation and Expenditure Report by March 31. The first required reports must be filed with Treasury no later than March 31, 2023 to account for the period ending December 31, 2022. Annual reports are required until all funds are expended. Reports will include information on current and cumulative obligations and expenditures, along with a certification that no funds were used for lobbying purposes.
US Treasury Guidance: