In other words, when federal aid runs out, the associated spending should also stop. So, before creating new programs or facilities, or adding elements to existing services, managers should ask themselves: is the idea really a one-time expense? Or will it require ongoing financial commitments, from salaries to materials to building maintenance?
For example, in May, Governor Ralph Northam and General Assembly leaders listed “helping public schools” as a first shared priority for Virginia ARP funds. They stressed their intention to ‘modernize’ school buildings across the Commonwealth, by ‘rehabilitating and modernizing existing facilities, improving air quality and HVAC systems and improving safety’.
The cost of upgrading the ventilation can probably be planned as a one-time expense. And in the hope that kids have healthy, in-person learning experiences this fall, there is some urgency to reaching that goal.
But in Florida, USA Today reported in April that the state faced a waiting list of nearly 50,000 seniors seeking community care. It is no less urgent. Still, some lawmakers have warned that using ARP funds for this cause might work in the meantime, but result in loss of support once the money runs out. How does this litmus test apply to other allowances provided across Virginia and the country?