Office of the State Treasurer Completes ARPA Funds Distribution

Just under $44 million dollars is in the hands of Delaware’s 55 non-county, non-metropolitan governments from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The federal government charged the Office of the State Treasurer (OST) with developing a process to distribute those funds and State Treasurer Colleen Davis says the first round of the job is finished.

“Residents of Delaware’s local communities can get the help they need now that their local leaders have their ARPA funds,” Davis said. “We understood that each city and town had specific needs, and the ability to start addressing those needs depended on our office making sure the appropriate amount of money got in the appropriate hands as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Treasurer Davis believed a critical element of ARPA was the ability for local governments to decide how to use the money to best serve their constituents and their communities.

“No one knows better than those on the front lines how to best help themselves,” Davis said. “Our job was to verify the amount of money each nonentitlement unit should receive, based on the budget information that each nonentitlement unit submitted to us, and then get the money out the door. We did not want to stand in the way of dollars being deployed into Delaware communities by making the distribution process unnecessarily burdensome. Our cities and towns have pressing issues in need of immediate funding, and that’s why we began developing our process back in March almost immediately after President Biden signed the legislation.”

Use of ARPA funds will not go unreported or unchecked. Each nonentitlement unit is required by the legislation to submit a Project and Expenditure Report to the federal government annually. The reports will include descriptions of all funded projects, expenses and obligations associated with each project, project status, and project demographic distribution.

The second round of ARPA funds will be delivered in 2022 and Treasurer Davis says that distribution should be even smoother.

“Because we developed a secure process for local governments as well as our ARPA dashboard providing clear, transparent information to the public, everything is already in place to deliver the funding next year,” Davis said. “We faced what could have been an overwhelming task, but from day one, I knew we would rise to the occasion. I cannot thank every member of our office enough for making this happen, and also want to express appreciation to the Delaware League of Local Governments for its partnership in this effort.”

Office of the State Treasurer Begins Multimillion Dollar Distribution to Local Municipalities

New ARPA dashboard shows up to date progress of disbursements

State Treasurer Colleen Davis announces money from the first round of funds allocated in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) is heading to the to 55 non-county, non-metropolitan governments throughout Delaware.

“As soon as President Biden signed ARPA, we began developing a process to make the delivery of funds to local governments as fast and efficient as possible,” said Treasurer Davis. “Having a plan in place allowed us to easily exceed the deadline for distribution set in the legislation.”

The Office of the State Treasurer quickly developed a secure online form for local government officials to submit budget information. Once received, the information was verified and the amount each nonentitlement municipality would receive was calculated. After that information is confirmed and payment processes are in place, the local government receives its funds.

A new dashboard on the State Treasurer website shows the progress of the distribution process. The Delaware ARPA Funds Dashboard provides information for each municipality, including budgetary information required to calculate the ARPA distribution amount and where each government stands in the process of receiving its funds. The dashboard can be found at

Any municipality that has yet to complete the required process to receive its money should do so immediately.

“The dashboard not only keeps the public informed about the process, it promotes transparency across the board, letting citizens know when their local officials get their money,” Davis said. “I felt these local governments receiving their own money needed to be a mandatory element of ARPA as the legislation was being developed, and I advocated for this important distinction from how money was distributed under last year’s CARES Act,” Davis said.

Davis, an Executive Board member of the State Debt Management Network and a member of the Government Finance Officers Association says both organizations supported the payments to the nonentitlement municipalities. Wilmington, Dover, the three county governments, and state government receive their ARPA funds directly from the United States Treasury.

“I also want to thank our colleagues in the Delaware Department of Finance and the Office of Management and Budget,” Davis said, “for their assistance ensuring a smooth process so the money can go to help as many Delawareans as possible in the ways their local governments deem most appropriate, as well as the members of our federal delegation for their help in communication with the U.S. Treasury.”

State Treasurer Colleen Davis Brings Forth Landmark Retirement Program for Delaware

Delaware EARNS would stem savings crisis

More than 200,000 Delaware workers currently lack access to an employer-sponsored retirement program, meaning they have no effective way to save for the future. Bi-partisan legislation introduced in the Delaware House of Representatives creating the Delaware Expanding Access for Retirement and Necessary Savings (“EARNS”) program could reverse that trend.

Many Americans, including Delawareans, face a great retirement crisis, with 52% of the State’s workforce not having an easy way to save through a retirement program at work. Delaware EARNS addresses the situation by automatically enrolling employees into a State-facilitated retirement savings plan unless they elect to opt-out. Delaware EARNS also benefits small businesses who may not be able to offer retirement plans to employees due to the cost and administrative burden, allowing them to attract and keep good employees by offering a crucial benefit like retirement savings.

“If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that the future is unpredictable,” said Delaware State Treasurer Colleen Davis. “I want to do everything I can to help Delawareans make retirement more secure without putting undue burden on employers.”

Businesses with more than five employees will be required to participate in Delaware EARNS through a simple payroll process with the State Treasurer’s Office handling the rest, but those employers who already offer employees some other form of retirement option would not need to participate.

“With no additional cost and just a few extra steps, small businesses in Delaware will be able to provide one of the most valuable benefits to their employees,” Davis said. “Workers benefit immediately by being automatically included in a retirement plan. Programs like Delaware EARNS that use auto-enrollment have a 92% participant rate compared to 61% for plans with just a voluntary rate.”

AARP Delaware and its more than 187,000 members encourage the passage of Delaware EARNS.

“We fully support DE EARNS because AARP believes in planning now, so we have financial security in the future,” said AARP Delaware State Director Lucretia Young. “While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle, it’s not enough to ensure secure financial resilience
as we move into our next chapter of life. We urge legislators to pass HB 205 to empower Delawareans to build a more secure financial future for themselves and their families.”

State Representative Larry Lambert, D-Claymont, is the lead sponsor of Delaware EARNS in the House of Representatives.

“We are creating an opportunity for Delawareans where it doesn’t matter what your background is, it doesn’t matter what your job is. You can have access to this transformative tool, which will give you an opportunity to enter into retirement with economic dignity and security,” Lambert said. “It benefits employers too because it makes their businesses more competitive. Some of our neighboring states may offer higher wages or different opportunities, but Delaware will be the first state in our region where all of our small business will offer a state-facilitated retirement savings plan.”

“Saving for retirement is an absolutely essential part of living out a long and healthy life, but too few Delawareans have access to the pensions and retirement plans that our parents and grandparents enjoyed,” said Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, prime sponsor in the State Senate. “Those who take advantage of savings and investment opportunities early reap the benefits; those who don’t often fall far behind. What we will end up with, if we aren’t careful, is a compounding crisis of underfunded retirement accounts and seniors who can’t afford to get by because of missed opportunities in their teens and twenties. Dozens of states have recognized this and taken action. I’m proud to be moving Delaware in that direction too.”

“Until now, Delaware was one of just five states that has neither taken any action to create, nor explored the feasibility of, such a program,” Davis said. “Enacting Delaware EARNS will enable more people to save for retirement, reduce the need for additional taxes to fund public assistance programs, and even incentivize people to return to the workforce knowing a retirement plan will be available.”

HB 205 can be found here.

Treasurer Davis to Receive and Distribute Rescue Plan Funds for Delaware Towns

With the signing of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) on March 11, 2021, State Treasurer Colleen Davis will take the lead role in distributing the projected $85.6 million allocated to 55 local governments throughout Delaware.

Local funds totaling $19.53 billion from the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package signed by President Biden will be distributed by the U.S. Treasury directly to the states for subsequent distribution to non-county, non-metropolitan governments. Treasurer Davis, as the custodian of Delaware funds, will receive the allocation for such local governments and make disbursements in accordance with ARPA. Wilmington, Dover, and the three county governments will receive ARPA funds directly from the United States Treasury.

“We are in contact with the federal government and are putting processes in place to ensure prompt distribution of ARPA funds to non-metropolitan cities and towns in Delaware,” said Treasurer Davis. “We will coordinate with local officials and make every effort to expedite the distributions so they can begin helping constituents.”

Treasurer Davis says the current timeline in ARPA calls for the federal government to release 50% of Delaware’s share of local funds (or approximately $42.8 million) within 60 days of the signing of the legislation. Under ARPA, the remaining 50% will be released no sooner than one year after the first disbursements are made.

“We are coordinating with the Department of Finance and the Office of Management and Budget and are committed to creating a process to streamline the payments,” Davis said. “Everyone in our office will do whatever is needed to efficiently and securely get the funds where they are needed as quickly as possible.”

Treasurer Davis Applauds Signing of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Says Delaware is positioned well for recovery

President Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package aimed to help the country’s economy return to pre-COVID strength. Delaware State Treasurer Colleen Davis believes the plan will play a big role in helping Delawareans.

“Those who need the most help should benefit quickly as the plan calls for $1,400 direct payments to most Americans and their dependents,” Davis said. “Individual taxpayers making up to $75,000 (or joint filers making up to $150,000) will receive the full amount. It also expands the child tax credit for one year, increasing to $3,600 for children under 6 and to $3,000 for kids between 6 and 17, with half of that money available in advance with payments to families from July 2021 to December 2021.”

The legislation also helps those who are out of work and finding it hard to pay for necessities like groceries. The $300 per week unemployment supplement remains in place until September 6th, with the first $10,200 in jobless benefits being tax-free, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit increases by 15% through September.

“Another important element of the American Rescue Plan Act is much needed aid to employers,” according to Davis. “The restaurant industry, which has been hit so hard here in Delaware and around the country, receives approximately $30 billion dollars, with the legislation also expanding tax credits aimed at allowing companies to keep employees on their payrolls.”

Other provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act include:

  • $350 billion in relief to state, local and tribal governments,
  • $25 billion in rental and utility assistance and about $10 billion for mortgage aid
  • $120 billion to K-12 schools
  • $20 billion into Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing and distribution, along with roughly $50 billion into testing and contact tracing.

According to Treasurer Davis, “We are in discussions with officials in the U.S. Treasury and are standing by, ready to receive the funds, and put them to use here in Delaware.”

Treasurer Davis stressed that while we’ve all felt the negative effects of the economy over the past year, a lot of hard work and forethought has positioned Delaware very well.

“We have strong fiscal controls in place which not only protect us financially as we come out of these tough times, but also instill enough confidence to allow the State to maintain its Triple-A bond rating,” Davis said. “Responsible budgeting, the establishment of the Budget Stabilization Fund and the State’s Rainy Day Fund have certainly provided much needed insurance through the pandemic.”