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Puerto Rico towns given access to $150M federal funds program

The Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, a $150 million pool of funds assigned through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, is officially open for all 78 Puerto Rico mayors who may dip into it upon signing an agreement with the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF, in Spanish), Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced.

The funding will be distributed at a pace of $50 million for three years starting this month. The next round of funds will be available in August 2022 and the third allocation will be in August 2023, the governor said. 

Once the agreement is signed, the municipalities will receive the funds immediately to pay for all the services that they offer directly to the public, which includes infrastructure maintenance and operational expenses, as well as health, safety, and education services.

“One way to do justice to the municipalities is to support them with the resources they need so that they can provide citizens with the services to which they are entitled,” Pierluisi said.

“We’re aware that the municipalities act as executing arm in most of the initiatives of direct attention to the needs of their residents; and this is what we have seen during this period of the coronavirus pandemic and after the natural disasters of the past years,” he said.

The funds will be distributed according to the participation of the 78 municipalities in the Stabilization Fund and according to the Municipal Revenues Collection Center’s (CRIM, in Spanish) Income Estimate for fiscal year 2022.

After receiving the funds, the municipalities must comply with the corresponding monthly reports required by ARPA.

“This allocation is a relief from the loss of funds due to the decrease in the Stabilization Fund and a recognition of the essential service provided by the municipalities to their residents,” said Puerto Rico Mayors Federation President Ángel Pérez, mayor of Guaynabo.

“With these funds, small and medium-sized municipalities will be able to meet part of their operational expenses and avoid affecting the direct services they provide to the people,” he said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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