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The Recovery Office received 426 project submissions, totaling $1.3 billion in funding requests. As well, the Recovery Office received 157 idea submissions.
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The Draft Recovery Plan is available on the Montgomery County Recovery Office’s website.
The County of Montgomery has set a value of creating a transparent, community-driven process to determining the best of use of Pandemic Recovery Funds. To support this value, we are interested in receiving feedback on whether the draft plan responds adequately to the needs identified by the community, before we approve any projects for funding.
For example, through our town hall sessions and surveys, we have heard that the community has placed a high priority on investing in communities hardest hit by the pandemic, in transformative projects, and in supporting groups that have been historically excluded from or underserved by government programs. We’d like to hear how well the draft plan meets those priorities, among others that the public has communicated.
The Recovery Office is interested in hearing from residents, community groups, school districts, municipalities, businesses, and other stakeholders. Feedback can be provided by applicants to the process and by those who did not provide a submission.
Feedback can be provided either in person by attending a town hall session, or in writing through our online feedback form.
Review of the project submissions followed a three-part process. First, Recovery Office staff reviewed project and idea submissions for completeness and eligibility. Second, all eligible and complete projects were forwarded to the Pandemic Recovery Fund External Review Committee for scoring using the funding plan’s scoring rubric. The scoring rubric, which was publicly available throughout the application process, was designed to prioritize projects that both capitalized on the one-time nature of this funding, as well as advanced one of the priority issue areas as identified by the community. The scoring allowed projects to be ranked by their score, from 0 to 100.
Following the project scoring, Recovery Office staff reviewed all projects, using both the project score as well as other considerations that the scoring rubric could not take into consideration. These considerations included the served population, geographic location, transformative impact, unique approach or need, and availability of other funding.
Throughout this review process, the Recovery Office also reviewed proposed budgets and adjusted budget recommendations. For projects providing operational support or services, the Recovery Office set a standard of providing two years’ of operating support in addition to any one-time start-up costs. For capital expenditures, the Recovery Office provided acquisition costs and limited rehab or operational support. In reducing budgets in this manner, the Recovery Office was able to recommend a more diverse slate of projects, serving a higher number of communities.
While the project score was one component of the funding decision, other factors were also considered before funding recommendations were made. These considerations included the served population, geographic location, transformative impact, unique approach or need, and availability of other funding. Each applicant received a rationale for why their project was recommended or not for funding that includes more specific information regarding the funding justification.
The project score was one component of the funding decision; however, other factors were also considered before funding recommendations were made. These considerations included the served population, geographic location, transformative impact, unique approach or need, and availability of other funding. Some projects that received a lower score were determined to offer a unique funding opportunity through the Pandemic Recovery Fund, and therefore were recommended for funding.
The final plan will be adopted by the County Commissioners on August 18, 2022. At that time, all projects will be considered approved.
Please note that projects are not considered officially approved until August 18, 2022, when the County Commissioners will formally adopt the final Recovery Plan. From now until then, all applicants that have been conditionally approved for funding through the Draft Recovery Plan were directed in their approval notice to schedule an appointment with the Recovery Office staff to determine the next steps for their project. The next steps may include additional documentation collection, adjusting the project budget, timeline, or scope based on the funding award, determining a payment schedule, reviewing compliance and reporting requirements, and reviewing other questions the applicant may have. During this meeting, applicants will be able to ask more detailed questions about their project and funding award.
If an applicant needs help scheduling an appointment, please email RecoveryOffice@montcopa.org.
At this time, all funding from this particular source (American Rescue Plan Act- State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds) has been allocated. The Recovery Office and County Management are working to connect unfunded projects with other available resources, including other county department grant processes or the capital improvement plan, other federal and state grant programs, and philanthropy. Over the coming months, the Recovery Office will reach out to applicants directly regarding their projects if other funding sources are identified.
As well, the Draft Recovery Plan includes grant programs that applicants could be eligible for, such as the Child Care center grant program, the Small and Minority-Owned Business grant program, or the Volunteer Fire Services grant program. Applicants who may be eligible for these programs have been notified in their funding decision letter, and will be contacted directly for instructions on how to receive funds for these programs.
Finally, the Recovery Office is recommending allocations for programs that will be distributed to individuals or organizations in the county. These include a school-based healthcare initiative, first time homebuyer’s program, and homeowner repair program. These programs may offer grant funds or financial payments for individuals or organizations in the community one they are implemented.
The Recovery Office will be monitoring projects for their progress and expenditures. As projects progress, if costs are lower than anticipated or a project is not able to be implemented, the Recovery Office may decide to recapture funds or change the funding allocation. If those changes are to be made, the Recovery Office will communicate with the public about the changes and plan for any re-allocation of funds.
The Recovery Office will begin sharing data and project outcomes with the community as projects begin. This information will be made available on the Recovery Office’s website and shared through the County’s social media and other channels.