City/County Coordination is Vital for America’s Recovery Plan


  • Michael Wallace
  • Eryn Hurley
May 19, 2021 - (3 min read)

On March 11, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The ARPA makes a historic investment in our nation’s local governments by establishing the $362 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund). Under the new program, $130 billion is directed to every county, city, town and village in America. 

The Recovery Fund, which is the largest ever direct infusion of federal funds in local governments, has the potential to bring about lasting change and improve the lives of city and county residents. To fulfill the goal of the ARPA and ensure positive outcomes for all residents and our nation’s recovery, coordination and cooperation among and between the county and municipal governments is essential.

City and county leaders should communicate and understand what they are planning and align efforts to best address the needs of residents and communities.

As local leaders begin strategizing about how to invest Recovery Funds, they should consider neighboring entities’ initiatives and partner with other ARPA recipients. City and county leaders should communicate and understand what they are planning and align efforts to best address the needs of residents and communities. To help with this coordination, the ARPA allows local governments to transfer Recovery Funds to ensure enhance the effectiveness of these dollars. For example, counties may consider sending funding to the cities within their jurisdictions to support immediate resident needs, like food or income assistance. Conversely, cities may consider contributing a portion of funds to county-wide programs, like health departments.

To support these efforts, the National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) are developing resources for municipal and county leaders. Included in these resources, NLC and NACo will work to highlight how local leaders can work together and invest these funds to ensure economic mobility for all residents despite the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic as has on individuals and families across the country due to historic racial and social inequities.

The ARPA provides new and groundbreaking opportunities for local governments to collaborate and invest in change that produces long-term positive outcomes. The innovative collaboration between city and county governments can create sustainable programs and strategies beyond this initial federal investment. 

NLC and NACo will continue to explore ways local governments can collaborate and address the financial needs of residents now and in the future. 

See NACo’s COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse, a resource hub for counties that houses critical resources, the latest news and more.

Get Involved

Apply to NLC’s Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative by noon on May 26, 2021!

About the Authors

Michael Wallace

About the Authors

Michael Wallace is the Legislative Director for Community and Economic Development on the Federal Advocacy team at the National League of Cities.

Eryn Hurley

Eryn Hurley is the Associate Legislative Director at NACO and staffs the Finance, Pensions and Intergovernmental Affairs Policy Steering Committee.