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Maximizing Your Stimulus Series, Part I: Don’t Get Caught in the Red Tape

California may receive as much as $80 billion in federal stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The act sets a goal of allocating 50 percent of funds to projects that can be initiated by approximately mid-June 2009.

Given the tight timeframe for allocating such a large portion of the ARRA funds, local governments are wise to act now. The red tape begins before you apply for funding, and doesn’t end until the project is complete. In our new series on Maximizing Your Stimulus, we’ll be walking you through the process of obtaining ARRA funding. In this alert, we cover the steps up to and including applying for funding.

Before applying for funding, public agencies and contractors must complete several registrations. First, you must make an application for a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number. The White House provides a guide to obtaining (or checking whether your organization already has obtained) a DUNS number. Second, you must register with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR). The CCR Website provides detailed registration instructors for both contractors and grantees.

After you have completed these registrations (it generally takes about 24 hours for your CCR registration to be validated) you can begin applying for grants through Grants.gov, the central clearinghouse for Federal grants. You should note that some grants are currently being processed through alternate systems, due to heavy demand on Grants.gov created by the ARRA; carefully read the submission instructions on all grants listed on Grants.gov.

You can search and browse for funding opportunities on Grants.gov using a number of criteria, including category and agency. There is a separate search section for ARRA opportunities. When we searched recently, more than 70 opportunities were listed, including funding for law enforcement agencies to create and preserve jobs and an opportunity for governmental and private agencies to create environmental job training projects that will facilitate the assessment, remediation or preparation of brownfields sites.

Next in our series on Maximizing Your Stimulus, we’ll be discussing several requirements for projects funded using ARRA funds, including requirements that materials be American-made and that the local chief executive or mayor certify the project. Watch for these alerts in the coming week. Also, our Sacramento clients are invited to the complimentary Maximizing Your Stimulus seminar on May 13. Check the Meyers Nave Website for details and future dates/locations of the seminar.

If you have questions about how you can get your public project off the ground with ARRA funds, please contact Ed Grutzmacher. As our experts on the ARRA, they can answer your questions and direct you to additional resources.