We welcome your comments, questions, suggestions and updates.
Modified: May 7, 2009 09:05 AM
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Stpeterecovery.org?
It's a web site with information about what the city is doing to ensure it can obtain all eligible and available funds, as well as a resource to the community to provide stimulus information and identify federal and state opportunities that are available directly to citizens, businesses and local non-profit support agencies. For example, stimulus funding will provide increases in the weekly amount of unemployment benefits and food stamps for recipients, training programs to re-train unemployed workers, and rebates to consumers of Energy Star appliances. Non-profit support agencies will receive formula funds directly through various state agencies. Local businesses can benefit through subcontracts on individual city projects. The Act requires accountability and transparency and this web site is our tool to ensure you are informed.
Are all potential sources of money listed on our website?
The online list represents what we know today about funds you can access by application. However, we get new information every day. Please:
- Check the online program list regularly
- Contact your usual agency resources about changes that may make funds available for your projects
- Contact local support agencies about available resources
What is the purpose of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?
The Act, or federal stimulus plan, is intended to:
- Create and save jobs
- Jump-start the economy
- Promote economic recovery and growth
Where is the full text of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009?
Full text can be found at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h1enr.pdf
How much money is available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?
The total bill appropriates $789.5 billion nationwide. The state of Florida is expected to receive approximately $13.5 billion.
How much of that money might St. Petersburg receive?
Due to statutory formula awards, the city anticipates receiving millions of dollars directly, and additional funds through application for competitive grants for which we are eligible. Presently, we anticipate at least $4 million in recovery funds for police, airport, homeless assistance, and community planning and development through the housing department.
How will funds be dispersed?
The Act provides funding for 100-plus programs. Funding is delivered in various ways, including grants based on formulas, competitive grants and discretionary grants. Some funds will be disbursed directly to local entities based on pre-existing formulas, such as Title I and special education funding to school districts. The state will distribute some funds while other funds will be distributed by the appropriate federal agency.
What types of programs will be funded?
Funding is provided for a wide range of federal programs intended to:
- Create a framework for clean, efficient, American energy
- Transform our economy with science and technology
- Modernize roads, bridges, transit and waterways
- Overhaul education for the 21st century
- Dispense tax cuts to create jobs
- Expand access to health care and lower costs
- Provide assistance to workers hurt by the economy
- Save public sector jobs and protect vital services
Funding will increase or extend certain benefits payable under the Medicaid, unemployment compensation and nutrition assistance programs. Funding will also reduce individual and corporate income tax collections and make other changes to tax laws.
How will funding decisions be made for stimulus projects?
For money distributed by the state, decisions on project selection and level of funding will be made with the same process now used by state agencies and the state legislature. All major building decisions, major road projects and appropriations are subject to a rigorous review and approval process. Other funds will be directly distributed by federal agencies through grants. Each federal agency will follow the guidelines established in the Recovery Act or its normal procedures.
When will we receive the funds?
Funds are intended to be distributed very quickly in order to most effectively stimulate the economy, save jobs, and provide assistance to those already unemployed. The state is applying for formula funds presently, and most competitive grants will be coming online over the next couple of months.
What's happening now?
The mayor has issued a directive that created a city recovery effort to apply for and allocate grant money. Currently, all city departments are reviewing available grant funds for eligible projects and preparing competitive grant applications.
What will the city do with the funds?
The Act requires that:
- Priority be given to projects that are "shovel-ready" where contracts can be awarded within 120 days of enactment of the plan
- Can be completed in one to three years
- Are located in economically distressed areas
- Must be an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars
- Can be started and finished quickly
- Can be used in a way that maximizes job creation and economic benefit.
What can I do to help?
If you work for a non-profit, another governmental agency in St. Petersburg or are a member of a community organization, check our online program list and see what opportunities exist for your organization. Apply for grants for which you might be eligible, and help us make an investment in St. Petersburg's future.
How can an organization apply for recovery funds?
The Act distributes funds through already established channels whenever possible. Most funding will flow through the state agency that normally handles that type of funding. Check links on our online program list to be directed to applicable agencies.
Does the Act prohibit the use of funds for certain activities?
- State, local and private entities cannot use federal stimulus funding for a casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course or swimming pools
- Payment of maintenance costs of systems, equipment or facilities
- Stadiums or other facilities primarily used for athletic contests or exhibitions or other events charging admission
- Modernization, renovation or repair of stadiums or other facilities primarily used for athletic contests or exhibitions or other events for which admission is charged to the public; or
- Modernization, renovation or repair of facilities used for sectarian instruction or religious worship, or in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission.
- Colleges and universities are required to use funds for education and general expenditures in such a way as to mitigate the need to raise tuition for in-state students.
What accountability and transparency steps are required?
The Act includes extensive provisions to ensure that recipients spend funds in ways that are consistent with its purposes. Requirements include:
- Certifications by governors or local officials that infrastructure expenditures have been fully reviewed and are an appropriate use of tax dollars
- Public access to contract and grant information, including requests for proposals for competitive grant programs
- Provisions for federal oversight, reviews and audits, coordinated by a Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board
- Access by federal inspectors and the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board to information needed to ensure accountability at the national level
States receiving funds are required to report the following to the federal government:
- How funds are being used
- Descriptions and status reports on stimulus-related projects
- Estimates of jobs saved or created by federal stimulus activities
- Estimates of tax increases averted because of federal stimulus funds
The city already has a comprehensive grant management and compliance program to ensure we are properly administering all externally awarded funds. This program will be an important tool in providing accountability for all federally received funding. Management of our grant portfolio starts at: http://www.stpete.org/budget/contractsgrants.asp.
Where can I find information on stimulus tax incentives?
Most tax incentives in the Act are tied to the federal tax code. The Internal Revenue Service is your best source of information.