Frequently Asked Questions
- How many requests were received?
- How was it decided what projects should get funded?
- I am recommended to receive funding. What do I do now? When will I get the funding and should I begin my project?
- I didn’t receive funding, will there be another round of applications? Or other funding I might receive?
- What will happen to any unused money if projects are not completed or do not cost as much?
- How will I know all these projects really happened and the impact it had on community?
- How were project scores determined?
Each eligible project submission was scored using the scoring rubric. The scoring rubric contains three sections: Project Viability, American Rescue Plan Intent, and Community Priorities. The Recovery Office scored the Project Viability section, and the External Review Committee scored the American Rescue Plan Intent and Community Priorities sections.
Each section contains three or four criterion, each rated on a 0-3 scale. After these were scored, they were multiplied by the relative weights for each section (20% for Project Viability, 30% for American Rescue Plan Intent, and 50% for Community Priorities) and converted to a 100-point scale.
Finally, in order to more easily compare projects that scored similarly, we calculated the percentile rank for each score. For example, a project that scored a 70 out of 100 is considered scoring in the top 80th percentile of projects.
- How was the scoring rubric created?
The scoring rubric was created by the Recovery Office in response to identified community priorities for use of pandemic recovery funds.
An initial set of criteria was created by synthesizing the feedback collected from the ARPA Town Halls, the survey of Montgomery County Residents, and direct responses from community partners, along with examples created by other counties and municipalities. Those criteria were combined into 10 specific metrics across three sections that address ARPA Intent, Project Viability, and Community Impact.
From there, a 0-3 scoring system was established for each criterion that rates each as “Not Present (0 Points),” Adequate (1 Point),” “Good (2 Points),” or “Great (3 Points).” Clear justifications were then written for each respective score of each criterion.
To treat each criterion individually and to prevent one criterion or section from over-influencing a submitted project’s evaluation, the Recovery Office developed a weighted average formula. Relative weights were developed by Recovery Office staff with input from Montgomery County management, community partners, and other external resources.
- Who served on the External Review Committee?
The 30-person scoring panel comprises members of our Montgomery County community that applied to be a reviewer based on our “Call for Reviewers,” which was circulated widely through our network of community partners. Our call for reviewers specified that we were seeking “individuals from across Montgomery County who can bring their experiences to more deeply inform our evaluation process,” and we were pleased to receive 75 applications from a diverse cross-section of our County’s communities. The individuals selected as final panelists are representatives of the various community sectors we sought to include, which are:
Reviewers received training on our submission process and received financial compensation for their work. Though reviewers were not prohibited from submitting project submissions themselves, we established a Conflict of Interest policy so that reviewers were not scoring any proposals they may have participated in submitting.
- How does my project score impact my project's likelihood of being funded?
Scores are one component of the funding process, but a project’s score doesn’t immediately qualify or disqualify a project from funding. The Recovery Office and County Management is now conducting a review to ensure that overall, the Draft Recovery Plan includes a diversity among funded projects by geographic location, population served, and project scale and size of the organization completing the project, as well as the availability of other funding and the potential for transformative, one-time impact.
Therefore, a project may have a high score but ultimately may not be included as a funded project. Alternatively, a lower scoring project may be included in the Draft Plan.
The rationale for all decisions will be posted publicly and shared with the applicant no later than July 18, 2022.
- Can I contest my project score?
No. Project scores are final.
All submitters will receive an email notification with the breakdown of how their project scored across all measures in the scoring rubric within the next week.
- When will I know if my project is being funded?
The Recovery Office will be posting its Draft Recovery Plan, which is the list of projects recommended for funding, by July 18, 2022. At that time, the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the plan. The Recovery Office will consider all feedback provided and may make adjustments to the Recovery Plan before it is presented to the Board of Commissioners for final approval on approximately August 18, 2022. Projects are not considered officially approved for funding until the Board of Commissioners votes for the Plan's approval on approximately August 18, 2022.
- How are "ideas" being scored or incorporated into the funding plan?
At this time, the Recovery Office is still reviewing ideas as well as projects. Idea submissions were not scored on the rubric because idea submissions did not include the same level of detailed information as project submissions. Therefore, idea submissions will not appear on the scoring page.
As the Draft Recovery Plan is being formed over the next few weeks, the Recovery Office will be reaching out to submitters of Ideas if they are able to be incorporated into the funding plan.
- What does RO mean?
RO means the Montgomery County Recovery Office.
- What is the mission of the RO?
The RO connects our community to information, resources, and opportunities, as well as equitably distributes funding throughout Montgomery County. Our goal is to support the health, social, and economic well-being of all residents, address racial and other disparities, and serve those hardest hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The RO creates and follows an inclusive, objective, collaborative, and transparent process to identify and select initiatives to fund and manage expenditures and initiatives responsibly.
- Who makes up the RO?
The RO is made up of a Recovery Officer, a Strategy Director, a Process Manager, and Analysts.
- What is COVID-19? What is the COVID-19 public health emergency?
COVID-19 means the Coronavirus Disease 2019. COVID-19 public health emergency means the period beginning on January 27, 2020, and lasting until the termination of the national emergency concerning the COVID-19 outbreak declared pursuant to the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).
- What is ARPA?
ARPA is the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319). On March 11, 2021, Congress enacted ARPA which provides $1.9 trillion dollars in relief funds to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Where is the text of ARPA located?
- What are the Pandemic Recovery Funds?
Montgomery County’s SLFRF allocation is $161,395,498. The County is referring to these funds as the Pandemic Recovery Funds. Prior to use, the Funds may be deposited into interest-bearing accounts, with earned interest allowed for general County use.
- What is the timeline for the Pandemic Recovery Funds?
March 3, 2021-December 31, 2024
The County must only use the Pandemic Recovery Funds to cover costs/obligations incurred between March 3, 2021, and December 31, 2024.
December 31, 2024
The County must allocate all of the Pandemic Recovery Funds by December 31, 2024. Thus, on December 31, 2024, the County will have allocated all of its $161,395,498.
December 31, 2026
All of the Pandemic Recovery Funds must be spent, and the period of performance must end, by December 31, 2026.
- What if the project is unable to be completed by December 31, 2026?
All of the Pandemic Recovery Funds must be spent, and the period of performance must end, by December 31, 2026. Thus, if a project is unable to be completed by December 31, 2026, the project may be considered ineligible.