When you talk, VLCT listens.
Consistently, respondents to our annual Member Survey have cited funding, access to grants, research and writing, as top areas for needing help. It was the #1 service need for 67.7% of respondents in 2022! We understand that capacity is a major concern for towns of all sizes. Lack of paid staff and often only a small group of elected officials to shoulder all the work are challenging. Developing smart, sustainable projects – big or small – takes time, planning, resources, sustained commitment, and expertise. It starts with prioritizing local needs, assessing the funding landscape, and creating an implementation plan. In this watershed moment of federal funding opportunities, now is the time to turn your ideas into actions, but you need help. Whether for taking the very first step or removing a stumbling block along the way, VLCT can provide added capacity that allows your important projects to access additional funds and successfully complete.
VLCT has created the Federal Funding Assistance Program (FFA) with this at the forefront of our minds. Modeled after our highly successful ARPA Assistance and Coordination Program, FFA takes our work with ARPA under its wing and expands it to include the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL, aka Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). and other new and existing state and federal grant programs. We do the work of sifting through the tsunami of information and working with our broad network of state, federal, statewide, and national partners to be your voice in their processes and to curate only programs and resources for which you are eligible and that are applicable to our Vermont scale. We know that no two projects are the same, but most have a lot in common. Creating consistency and support systems gives us bandwidth to work with you on drilling down to your unique challenges.
Which new federal grants opportunities are right for Vermont's municipalities?
There are three ways to find out:
Upcoming Funding Opportunities
YES! All FAQs related to federal funding now reside on the Federal Funding Assistance FAQ page HERE.
Yes! Since ARPA is federal funding, it is now nested under the Federal Funding Assistance Program and there is still a dedicated webpage for it HERE, since it is a big topic impacting all members, as well as a specific ARPA FAQ page HERE and ARPA Compliance and Reporting page HERE. The ARPA@vlct.org email box is still active and you can send your inquiries related to ARPA to it.
FFA's TIP of the WEEK
Sometimes a simple, small piece of information can make all the difference in saving valuable time, frustration, and even money. One tip, trick or piece of advice can result in a more competitive grant application, a more successful compliance audit, a project budget staying on track or on budget, etc. Information is power. Knowing the rules and how to play the game is critical to success in the arena of public funding. Our Tips of the Week are designed to help you have an advantage.
A common error in project budgeting is failing to consider how grant timelines might impact project cost. For a construction project, the time from submitting a grant application, to receiving an award, to construction commencement and substantial completion can take 2-4 years (or longer!); 2-4 years for a planning study . In the past, including a 10% cost contingency in a project budget might have been sufficient, but the costs of wages, materials and associated project needs continue to increase due to economic forces. The New England Employment Cost Index shows that wages and salaries increased by 5.9% from December 2021 to December 2022. If increases continue at that same rate annually, it would equate to an 18.7% increase in wages over three years and 41% over six years. When creating your project budgets, keep these increases in mind for both municipal staff that will be paid through a grant and for consultant and contractor costs.
Need one-on-one help?
Grab 30 minutes with us for a "Consults on Call"* appointment! Whether your project is just in the idea phase, has started to gain momentum, has stalled completely or you just need help prioritizing projects before you get started, let us help you.
If you think you need more than 30 minutes, please email FFA@vlct.org to schedule a longer time slot.
1 PM to 3 PM
7 PM to 8 PM
Member Only Service
Available only to individuals with an official role (selectboard, town manager/administrator, clerk, treasurer, planning commissioner, etc) with a VLCT member.
Federal Funding Assistance Program Topics
Use the quick links below to navigate to topics commonly of interest to those looking for federal funding.