There's funny wildlife crossings. Wildfire policies by both tribes and nations are eligible for healthy street grants for tribes for installing trees on roads or inverse ratio also studied catch water first time is how can I help Hi everybody. Welcome. This is Neil Sandra ISON. I'm the Executive Director of the Alaska Municipal League. Welcome to this weekly AFN navigator. Program session, where each week we talk a little bit about some of the Cares Act provisions, implementation compliance and reporting plus, ARPA, and everything related to that. I don't know if if we have any of our AFN navigators on. Anyone from AFN wants to give a quick welcome but really appreciate this opportunity. And this continued collaboration to make sure that Alaska is tribal governments, tribal organizations, and others have the information they need to really understand how to implement Cares Act and ARPA successfully, how to meet the needs of residents and others at a community and regional level.
Today's conversation is going to focus on infrastructure. And it really pretty specifically on water, sewer sanitation infrastructure. But I would make some kind of opening remarks around kind of what's what you're able to do with Cares Act and ARPA funds there's some overlap between the two. You should pay attention to specific provisions of each as it relates to infrastructure. I think that when it comes to things like water and sewer, it's really important especially with Cares Act funds, that you're tying that back to the public health needs of the community. And we can talk more about what that looks like. With care at Cares Act. It was all about kind of the justification for infrastructure related to the public health process and COVID mitigation specifically. At the same time, you can think about infrastructure, not just in, in in terms of public health, but also in how you respond to the economic impact of of a COVID and economic crisis that kind of occurred, or the last couple of years and during this covered period. So keep in mind that with Cares Act funding unless something changes, that cares at covered period was from March of 19, already 2020 through December 31 of 2021. So that's kind of what you're thinking about in terms of your expenditures, and arepas over the next three three years through 2024. And reporting beyond that. So water and sewer really tied back to meeting some of the public health pieces of the outlining Cares Act, with ARPA, water and sewer was called out specifically as an eligible expenditure. So we'll talk more about that. There's other infrastructure that was identified in both bills, especially with ARPA, things like broadband infrastructure, anything that helps with connectivity into being an eligible expenditure. And some communities have utilized some of their ARPA funds to help connect communities and that can be as simple as making sure that your local provider connects with the homes in the community and make sure kind of last mile is covered to other other types of support, not infrastructure related, but just bringing down the cost of connectivity. So that telemedicine telehealth, tele work, tele education you know, all your school kids who are are at home and out of school but still going through coursework, that they've got the connectivity they need. So the broadband as an eligible expenditure was important to address some of those issues. More broadly for infrastructure assets that were purchased under either program. Many might have some purchased housing units or renovated housing units to serve as quarantine sites or for isolation in a community those assets. Once the covered period is over, they do revert to you to do whatever you need to do with them. So there is kind of provisions in there for for what happens next, once that covered period is over the expenditures that you made the investments that you made into things like housing infrastructure, in the interests of public health, are available then to be repurposed for other needs in the community. They but let's, let's talk more, especially about water and sewer needs. And with us we have John Nichols, from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Many of you will be familiar with AI and THC. I haven't prepped John at all for this conversation. So he has absolutely no idea what this is. And I'll talk him through it. We'll go from there, but John, thanks for joining us. Great. Yeah. This these weekly calls are pretty informal. It's a It's one way that we can just get information out into communities. It's pretty focused on tribal governments and tribal organizations.
And you'll be familiar on that side. And, and we're just trying to help everyone understand as much as possible, kind of the work that's gone on what's out there related to Cares Act and ARPA that that you've worked through, and get a sense of kind of where to go next. But you do want to kind of give an introduction to who you are and and THC and kind of that broader role that you've played in addressing water and sewer. During this kind of pandemic, kind of pandemic, very much a pandemic. What does that look like and tell us a little bit about, I guess, introduce yourself? Sure.
Sure. Yeah. Thanks, Niels. Yeah, so I'm John Nichols, with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. I'm the director of utility management services. And so you know, my background goodness, I'm an engineer, I started the city of Bellingham, but well over 20 years ago, and I've been with at&t HC for about 17 years now. Designing, building operating, maintaining managing water and sewer systems throughout rural Alaska. And a THC is most folks know, you know, our job on the water and sewer side. Our job is to help communities provide water and sewer services, quite frankly, to keep people healthy and out of the hospital that we also run. My job is to is to make that hospital be empty and vacant. No need for it. So and of course, our sister agency with the state of Alaska, his village safe water that many folks are also very familiar with. We both work towards the same goal which is to provide water and sewer service throughout Alaska. And so that, you know, that's what we do. We do everything from designing and building and helping get funding for water and sewer. We don't provide the funding ourselves. The funding all comes from Congress either through Indian Health Service or USDA or EPA or Denali, Commissioner others and unlike, say, BIA, roads money. The funding comes down from Congress Congress for a specific amount of money for a specific project in a specific village. So we don't get to make those decisions. as to which village gets how much for what, that's all Congress thing. As far as Cares Act funding and ARPA funding, you know, we run several programs that help manage and operate water and sewer services throughout the state. One is the a rock program which is a management service for 26 communities throughout the state. Another is the the Northwest Arctic burrows community utility assistance program. And a number of communities and those programs and others have used Cares Act funding for example to to pay for water and sewer service for a certain number of months for many other residents. Other communities have used Cares Act funding or ARPA funding to fix broken water and sewer lines or plumbing inside a home so people can have that water and sewer which we know keeps people healthy. So there's been a lot of use of cares and ARPUs for water and sewer to keep people healthy.
So so it's not always I guess, I think when I when I say water and sewer infrastructure, it sounds like this big thing, right in a community and probably that's true when there's nothing in place or unmet need in a community and but there's lots of I mean, there's a range of investments that a community could make into addressing water and sewer needs. Hi, Sarah, and John do so I guess come back a little bit to that. What's that micro? Very specifically fixing pipes. In homes? What does that look like? Do? Does a community reach out you to kind of walk through how to do that? Do you do that service? What's that kind of very concrete, the smallest level improvements that can be made. Can you talk more, a little bit about that?
Sure. Yeah. So the smallest level of improvements that can be made. And you know, I think our small rural communities are often blessed with the fact that you know, people know what's going on, people know where the issues are and where the problems are. So for example, if we had community like CI vac that reach out and say hey, we know there are these eight homes where there's broken water and sewer lines inside the home. And so because of that these eight homes, they don't have water and sewer service. They've got a pipe run into their house, but there's something inside their house that doesn't make that doesn't allow that to happen. So in that case, those communities say look, we've got these eight homes, we think it'll cost about this much amount of money. Um, and oftentimes, what they do is they just pay their, their own local water plant operators to go into that home and make those repairs and that money doesn't have to flow through a and THC. In fact, quite frankly, oftentimes with those micro repairs, it would just slow down the process for it to flow through Ray and THC. So if you've got a local contractor if you got local water plant operators that can do that. Really that's the that would be the preference for two minutes, go directly to him and get those things fixed.
Oh, that's helpful. And then I imagine I know that early on in care, Zack, we had we sat down with HD and others and talked about what can we do in nine months and our beyond that nine, nine months and coming up with almost two years. The worry then was like getting materials and stuff out to communities to make improvements. Can you talk which I guess is kind of beyond the micro level repairs, there's something more that needs to be done in a community. And I don't imagine that people are charging stuff out at this point in the Cares Act. But you know, as they're thinking about ARPA and other things, can you talk a little bit about, you know, what are we to experience over the last 18 months in getting stuff out to communities and in doing what could be done for water and sewer systems and, and how should we be thinking about using I mean, if we're using ARPA funds, what's the planning involved and meeting needs in the community here on out?
Yeah, no, that's a great point and especially relevant now because you know what? We found with with Cares Act funding, and quite frankly, any construction over the last year is that things you know, materials that we used to be able to just call up a supplier and say, Hey, I need any 10 valves, send them to me. Those things that used to be in stock and you could just go pick them up. Now those are 23456 weeks out. Things like Arctic pipe that you in the past. If I give 30 days notice. I have a supplier make it for me and I'd get it in 30 days and no worries. That can be four to six months. out now. And so what we're finding is that if you want to be able to do construction during the summer, that what we're telling our people right now is that you need to start your ordering process for any any huge item 10 months in advance and six months absolute minimum and I know it sounds ridiculous, but you know, um, you know, we have suppliers now that are saying, Look, we know you ordered 100 routes, we can get you 10 This week, call us next week and we'll tell you what we can get you and we have other suppliers where we placed orders and they've just said look, we know we promised to provide you X amount of artic pipe, we literally can't get it as a supplier you're gonna have to look somewhere else. And so, a plan way ahead, far ahead.
Oh, that sounds terrible. A and what I mean, I think I was thinking just about the transportation but the supply chain dynamics at this point. Really when we're talking about more major water and sewer project, is it kind of a two year time horizon it's 10 months now or six to 10 months of ordering and making sure you've got everything in place and then separately scheduling. How to how to get it out to a community is that where folks should be thinking or how they should be thinking.
You know, so if, if you don't already have the engineering plans, designed, and it's a small project you're probably three years out if it's a mega projects, a community that's on honey buckets now and it's going to go to full pipes. You know, realistically you're going to start construction maybe in four years if you have the money in hand today. I mean, it's it's a really lengthy process.
I was I thought he would say oh no two years we can get it done in it by the summer or something. So thanks for going the opposite direction. The is there like when we're talking about Arctic pipe or valves. I can imagine that, you know, for every community and especially for every tribe who's received ARPA funding, for instance, at this point, if they're thinking about water and sewer and and this is kind of not even thinking about the infrastructure package at this point. I mean, just for ARPA, if there's a dozen or four dozen communities out there who are planning very specific projects, is there like a central place where planning is going on around like how much Arctic pipe is going to be needed between all those projects, or how many valves or is every project unique or how is that coordinated? Is it coordinated?
You know, so if it's a and THC then we're coordinating them as best we can to to make that happen. But if it's individual communities doing projects, which happens all the time, then it's sort of each community for themselves and and, you know, again, it does sound like it's, it's a huge delay, but you know, get your orders in just as soon as you can, because you know, that everyone along the supply chain is in the same boat. There's a lack of predictability of, hey, when can I get the stuff that I used to just count on getting?
Right? It makes me think of, I mean, almost a procurement clearing house. I know, like during, I mean, during COVID When their state had a unified command, and they still have these resource request forms that you can fill out like send me PPE, send me, you know, whatever, and it goes there and they kind of coordinate distribution back, it'd be amazing to think of, I mean, just because we're talking about such a large scale of potential projects where like all of that kind of funneled into one place to at least sort out what could be purchased together. I have high hopes of that level of collaboration. But I also just want to be mindful of you know, you don't want any community to miss the boat right and be able to support that community those communities as as much as possible. For have you run into any when it comes to kind of Cares Act or ARPA funded projects. Any advice for how communities are using that funding or have you run into any challenges around Oh, we can't do that or kind of your role in eligible expenditures or anything like that, that you could comment on? Yeah,
I would say the biggest challenges we've seen so far is mostly on the recording side of things. It seems like most communities have done a pretty good job of reaching out to the Ruby specialist, for example, or using AMS resources to determine what is and is not eligible. But it's that you know, doing the financial reporting, ensuring you're requesting each you know, all the cares funding from the state. That seems to be maybe one of the bigger issues and again, I would encourage folks, you know, for questions, maybe reach out to resources like the group of specialists who seem like they have it pretty well in hand what what you can use cares for and what you can and how to report on it. But but definitely use those resources because I think they're out there.
Yeah. One of the big questions and I don't know if we can answer it yet, but we know that Cares Act, you know, there was some eligibility for water and sewer. ARPA very definitely. And now we've got this infrastructure package. Should we be should communities be thinking about their ARPA funds as this is what we want to use those for for water and sewer, or should they wait for the dust to settle on the infrastructure package? Do you have any sense of timing or how to how to make a decision in an environment where you've got funds on hand right now, potentially, to make a difference versus maybe this and maybe at some point the next year? Have you had those conversations at all?
You know, we're starting to have those conversations. Internally because the dust still hasn't settled out on exactly how the infrastructure bill is going to come down. Um, you know, so the exciting news is there's a lot of money for water and sewer in the infrastructure bill, for example, Indian Health Service, which is sort of the biggest recipient on the water. And sewer side. They're gonna get $3.5 billion over the next five years. Um, and, you know, and and that 3.5 billion really comes from the amount of needed projects in native communities that are in the the SDS system, which is essentially, our report to Congress nationwide about all the needs of native communities for water and sewer and landfills. So our expectation is basically everything that's in that system now is going to get funded, which for Alaska is $1.9 billion. And that's, you know, that funding will come in sort of five identical chunks if you will, over the next five years, and is going to be distributed by Indian Health Service in, in in national and so, so I can't tell you this year, how much Alaska is going to get next year how much Alaska is going to get? But so that's that's the great news and it will allow us should allow us to connect honey bucket villages to water and sewer to do a lot of the large infrastructure, water and sewer projects we haven't been able to do. So that's the great news. The the challenging news still is that Indian Health Service projects, Indian Health Service is all about water and sewer for native homes. Because, you know, their goal, quite frankly, is to keep Alaska Natives and Indian American Indians out of out of IHS hospitals. That the challenge is that because they only provide water and sewer service to native homes. Many, many projects have a percentage of that overall project that is providing service to non native homes or stores or schools. And whatever percentage that is that that percentage of the overall construction budget for that project needs to come from somewhere else. So Indian health service calls that they're ineligible contributions in as an example. So talk about the $1.9 billion of Alaska water and sewer needs. There's about 325 million on top of that, that is ineligible contributions that has to come from someone else in order for that $1.9 billion to flow to Alaska.
Okay that's helpful. I think I know I'm the dust hasn't settled yet and we're all still trying to kind of wrap our arms around next steps on an infrastructure package. But I I think what I'm hearing to some extent is when I think of these three pots of funding for water and sewer and for infrastructure tears act, our infrastructure package when it when it gets there, is that you know, at this point we could think about them in different ways. Right? So for Cares Act that's got a three week deadline. People may be able to make some small improvements. It's great to hear that you've had maybe broader community work that's been able to be accomplished during that covered period. But in the next three weeks, really we're talking about, if you've got leftover Cares Act funds or you know something to that effect those home improvement type projects is is really what's possible. It's replacing pipes. It's fixing leaks. It's you know, really a local workforce with vocal supplies, making home improvements that improve public health and tribes, you know, ostensibly could set up programs that reimburse community members for those kinds of improvements and track those accordingly and report on kind of that, that public health improvement made for for residences. So I think that's interesting. I liked your comment on like water utility operators, sometimes being in a position to go into homes and make those improvements to so if there's not, if there's somebody that you've got on hand, the city or the tribe, who's kind of that utility operator, they might you might build, pay them to make those kinds of improvements over the next couple of weeks. So I think that's a great short term kind of effort that could be undertaken for Cares Act. To try to spend down any remaining funds during this covered period. ARPA relative to the infrastructure package ends up a little bit more interesting in terms of how you can be strategic and those funds. There's no a couple friends, right? So if you're not on that IHS List of 1.9 billion, then probably you could think about using your ARPA funds for a project that's not on that list. Like that's probably a starting point and we can make that that list is available. I've got that spreadsheet we could draw down, there's probably a more recent one. So we could think about making sure that's available and then tribal governments could look to see is their project on the list or not. If not, consider whether ARPA funds are appropriate ARPA funds don't have any restrictions on eligible ineligible homes in the community. So they could be available for using for water and sewer projects for what would be ineligible under an IHS distribution or project there's not any kind of guidance or Treasury guidance out there for ARPA that would restrict a tribe's use of those funds for those purposes that I know. Is there any kinds of the third track for ARPA funds is there any and thinking kind about the timeline for any of the projects that haven't been engineered? Or is there a step in the process design and engineering? That would be helpful now, so that when the infrastructure package kind of starts rolling, that those projects could be facilitated a little bit faster? have everything in place and be able to, to move quickly? Is that helpful? Or do you have any sense of that, John?
Yeah, you know, actually, that's that's a great point. So, Indian Health Service also received some ARPA funds, and we're using 14 million from those ARPA funds to do to do essentially conceptual engineering plans for the for the 30 some honey bucket communities because because the sooner we can get a jumpstart on engineering, the sooner we can have them ready for infrastructure funding to do the construction. And and so this allows us to get a one year jumpstart on that which is it's going to be pretty important, I think. So I think there's there's real value in that. And again, that that money is not going to come from the local communities. But I do think, you know, saving some of that ARPA funding to for local communities to potentially use their local ARPA funding. For the non eligible match of Indian Health Service funding, I think would be a real advantage. One, one example is that it's likely that this year in Alaska will get 58 landfill projects funded through the Indian Health Service, and I say likely, right, because we should have a really good picture here in about a month and a half. But but it's pretty likely that that will get funded. Those landfill projects will require on average about $23,000 of ineligible contribution. And, you know, the the only location that I'm aware of now to get landfill grants outside of this is the USDA direct program. And if anyone here has applied for and successfully navigated a USDA direct grant, you'll know that $23,000 is not enough money to go through that pain. It's, you know, it would delay your project by several years and take hundreds of hours of administrative work.
So everybody should save 23,000 Are those 56 communities shut or something? And that's I often forget the landfill side of things that's come up often in questions about Cares Act funding or ARPA funding like is this an eligible expense to make improvements to the landfill? And I've always thought of it in terms of public health and John, I hope that's right. But if you're making improvements to your your landfill, then it it seems like an eligible use of both Cares Act and ARPA funds as it relates to public health. So, and I've seen communities or at least I've seen cities who have talked about it in terms of setting up well, I mean, even getting equipment to make sure that the the landfills better managed setting up systems so people don't have to residents don't have to go into areas that you know, put them at risk at a public health level don't have to congregate or anything. So all kinds of ways to kind of think about how to address landfill improvements. John, for those 53 or 56 communities, you talk maybe about a month or so we'll have a better idea of that. That would be another list to share that we could get out to this group kind of IHS, water and sewer list and then the landfill list we have a better sense of how to help communities understand what's coming.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, I think we'll have like say about a month and a half we'll have a good idea of a what will be funded and be what Indian Health Service is going to require for ineligible contributions. Certainly working with other funding agencies as well like Denali Commission, like USDA, EPA to see you know, where else can we find a location for these ineligible contributions, but you know, just just realize that the level of pain with some of these is very high, and that are planning would be a great match to make those projects skill fast and easy.
And speed seems to be important, but the thing supply chain and and Alaska transportation and everything. That's it. Let's make sure you've got time for questions and discussion. If you have questions. I should have said this along the way, but feel free to put those in the chat bar or come off you can unmute yourself. And yeah, I mean, I think a lot of kind of where we're headed is I mean, to some extent, we're not sure. But at least we've got some concrete ideas of what you can do with cares hack money right now and how to be thinking about and be strategic about your ARPA funding. So that we can best utilize and make make the most of whatever comes from IHS and the infrastructure package. Any questions or comments, any examples of how you've used either Cares Act or ARPA funds to make improvements? To Water and sewer infrastructure or other types of infrastructure?
Yes, I got a question for John.
Yeah, go ahead.
If the fire village is not on that list you have Would you still be able to separate water sewer projects in the village if we use the ARPA funds?
Yeah, so even if you're not on the the Indian Health Service list for needed projects, you can still use your ARPA funds for any any water and sewer project that's going to help your community
Yeah, can we get can we get assistance from IHS to an order and design the project?
If it's not if it's not funded separately by IHS as well, then then you would not be able to get assistance from IHS there. Um, you know, my recommendation would be to contact your project engineer from either a and THC or village safe water and let them know what you're looking to do. And they can they can look up in the list and see Hey, is that is that a need? We've already identified to IHS. And if so then hopefully they can help get some funding to match your ARPA funding. And if not, there's a there's a possibility that that engineer could help you with that project regardless
Okay, thanks. Yeah, good question. John. I've heard a lot of concern about from communities who aren't on that list or whose project isn't listed. And, and a lot of I mean, I would say clamoring at this point, like, how do we get on the list? How do we get on the list? And I don't know that. I don't know if you have the answer to that or not or if there is an answer to it, but I think it's something we should all be kind of aware of. There. There will definitely be needs out there that aren't on that list, and there should be some way for communities to communicate to IHS and others like hey, this is still a need that we have. It's good to know that they can use ARPA funds contract with work with a and THC to address the project if it's not on the list. And only reason to be on the list is because it's one of those potentially the projects that get funded through the infrastructure package. Right.
Well, you know, so that list fortunately is a dynamic list. So A and THC and village safe water are required by Congress to update that list every year. So your community has a need. I say that list. So that list is for Native communities. I have to throw that out there because it's an Indian Health Service list. So if your community has a need, call your project engineer again, whether it's with village safe water A and THC, you're still going to get that that same service, call your engineer and say hey, here's a need in our community. Is it on the list? And if not, put it on the list. And then engineers probably going to say okay, we see that's a need but but you know, we're going to have to meet these criteria to show how you know, is it is a need that we have to fix in the next two years is a need that is 20 years out. They'll have a whole list of questions for you but call your engineer and they will absolutely work with you. And they'll get your projects on that list.
The same it's I mean for communities. They can also communicate with that with state with State DEC and village safe water or they kind of maintaining awareness to so any outreach I mean others could outreach, that direction is that right?
Absolutely. And so I talked about that list for Indian Health Service, but we have list for for non native home
for everybody else. Yeah, communities.
We just don't have $3.5 billion to work on. There will
be funding for that other list too, I think just out of a different bucket. Good other other questions that folks have for John are kind of specific to infrastructure funding from for Cares Act or arpa?
Anybody who's made modern sewer improvements or other types of infrastructure, improvements with your funds so far?
I will keep talking while you're thinking about questions or answers, they like one of the things to keep in mind about though if you're using Cares Act or ARPA funds, the benefits of that infrastructure improvement need to occur during the covered period. So with Cares Act funds, if you're making if you're spending those funds for, you know, to fix something in your community or improving infrastructure, like the public health benefit has to occur during that during the covered period. So it's not just making the improvement but there needs to be some period of time where that's benefiting, you know, the resident or the community prior to the deadline. And same thing for arpa. So you've got three years and you're through 2024 to spend down those funds. But if you've got a two year time horizon for actually doing a project that benefits that project needs to be complete in enough of a forum to benefit your community during that covered period. So be kind of mindful of that timing, and in what comes out of it kind of relative to the covered period. Yeah, so think about that. Other questions or comments from folks?
Sarah, do have you had any comments come in through it the navigator program about water and sewer projects?
No. We haven't but you know, in talking with and THC. They also have funding and have been working with several communities on water and sewer projects is and so reaching out to and THC is also another resource there.
Yeah. Yeah. And it's great to have that resource, right, because I I imagine there's some communities who don't have that same resource and are kind of scrambling to figure out what what to do. Right. And John, is able to probably take a lot of those calls I know Dave beverage is also kind of active was going to be on the call today for me and THC and tied up with infrastructure package discussion. So like a lot of us are going to be tied up on that front in the months to come. The CIO we've focused a lot on water and sewer. Today, we talked a little bit about broadband housing. And others I think when it comes to I get a lot of questions about energy or electricity, infrastructure improvements. I I've struggled with kind of electrical or energy improvements. As a an eligible expenditure for either Cares Act or arpa. But I've liked a lot of communities have approached it and terms of we've got a failing generator or something that's not right when it comes to energy. Like without power, we can't have water and sewer without water and sewer we don't have public health. So if you I mean, I I've often said if you can make that connection between your power system people having power electricity to to have a water heater you know, whatever it is to have to maintain public health and that's a good way to justify those kinds of improvements. Here's an ARPA isn't I mean, they aren't designed to support energy upgrades like to move from diesel to renewable, that's not really anywhere in the guidance. And I think we'd have a harder time making that justification. But I've definitely seen communities try. So energy infrastructure isn't addressed so much within Cares Act and ARPA, I think that there you'll see more about energy infrastructure within the infrastructure package. So I will be keeping an eye on that especially well, for renewables and to address high cost energy. For broadband again, I mean, the the infrastructure package is going to tackle a lot of that. But I think you can be thinking about your ARPA funds at this point, in and Cares Act related to kind of connectivity within the community. Making sure you can lower costs for residents who are using the internet more to do schoolwork or jobs or whatever that looks like with ARPA, your capital project fund dollars. That's exactly what those funds are for. So if you haven't applied for your CPF, your capital project fund, Arca allocation, and I think that's do want to say February, but it's coming up. It's already an allocation that's got your tribes name on it. And it's for those purposes, it's to connect communities in a variety of ways for for health, for education, anything that you know, for school and business and other other types of things. So call called the AFN navigator program or AML. To walk through that CPF program if you haven't made the application and want help with it. I know AML through through AFN support is able to you know help you write or complete those grant applications for free. So reach out to us and we'll walk you through it. housing infrastructure, homelessness, overcrowding, all of that ends up kind of being tied back to public health. So those a lot of times I've seen communities make good justification for those kinds of improvements, both for Cares Act and for arpa. And I think for ARPA that's especially kind of dedicated, eligible use for tribal governments. So be thinking about how you can address those things. I imagine. And THC has a role in some of that, too.
So those are definitely good questions. If you did, put in place a quarantine or isolation house or shelter or something. If you made an improvement on that front during the your cares covered period that does once the cover periods over. it reverts to you being able to use that for general purposes. If you sell it within the covered period, then you have to use those funds for the purposes outlined by Cares Act or arpa. But after the covered period it's open for you to do with as you need. Yeah, John,
I could I could throw out an additional resource for for energy and energy efficiency so a and THC we have what we call the Rural Energy Program. A quite frankly, it's it's aimed at making energy costs mostly for water and sewer systems, but also community buildings, less expensive and more more efficient. So if you just Google a THC energy program you can find that if you're a tribal organization, you can request a free energy audit, or a or free assistance in helping put together grant applications and such for energy efficiency alternative energy, things like that. So I think we've helped communities save over $20 million in energy costs over the last decade or so. Typical projects that we help communities do heat recovery systems, to water plants where you take the the heat that's that's created from your diesel powered electrical generators, you take that heat and use it to warm up water in your water plants. We put a lot of solar panels on water plants, which I confess I was a real skeptic about putting solar panels above the Arctic. Circle, but it's amazingly effective and and cost almost nothing to maintain. We've helped do some wind generators. We've helped put in biomass boilers, so you can use locally cut firewood to heat your buildings or water treatment plants instead of flying in fuel that we all know is very expensive, and that that sort of has a side benefit of not only reducing costs, but also providing local jobs to cut wood. And then other things that aren't quite as exciting or sexy but save a lot of money is upgrading pumps. Changing the controls, putting in remote monitoring so we can see a potential emergency before it ever happens fix it before anyone knows about it. But those are all things that a and THC under their rural energy program can help you with and most of that stuff is at no costs.
Awesome. Thanks, John. Any other questions about how you can think about your infrastructure improvements that might be made using cares actor ARPA funds? And I'm sure with ARPA, we'll have another conversation at some point next year about you know how to really leverage ARPA relative to infrastructure package funding. That conversation I think will come but we've started it today and outlined a number of ways to start thinking about that and be strategic in your use. Of those ARPA funds. Anything else that's out there is a question or thoughts about this topic.
But I think that's it for today. If you a couple other announcements there's, I think Sarah put in the chat bar that if you want to learn more about any of the different funding programs that are out there, do visit the AFN navigator website. They've got great resources up there. If you need help applying for a grant AMLs got the grant writing hotline where you can talk to a grant writer and kind of work through Are you eligible Are you ready? That kind of thing and then we're able to do free grant writing for many different types of grants through the end of the year. And Sarah anything
now and also about if you mentioned reporting and compliance. If you've mentioned that that Alaska Municipal League is providing assistance with reporting and compliance in addition to that grant writing hotline so there's a lot of resources that are available for tribes and agencies to take advantage of.
Yeah, and and it's especially when I think for reporting compliance. We had a couple folks on calls earlier a couple sessions back to say that they maybe haven't been doing the reporting for Cares Act to correct that now let's call us and you can call Don at 907790530 for in our office, she will help get you started on carrier sack reporting. It'd be great to make sure that you're up to speed with that and you do have quarterly reports for Cares Act. So you'll want to make sure that those if you haven't been reporting, you can correct that by just filing your upcoming report and having everything in their reporting for Cares Act is through, I think, September of this coming year to account for some of the audit processes that might go on. You're ARPA reporting. You've got annual reports coming up next year. We'll talk more about that next year. But AML you can kind of talk with us about an agreement to have us support you through your reporting and compliance. John, you mentioned reporting and compliance to so I know that it's out there. It actually I meant to ask you is and THC if they contract, are you a sub recipient of Do you know anything about how they treat and THC as either a sub recipient or a contractor
you know, I don't know how they treat us. You know, any cares or ARPA funding that flows through us? Obviously, we get we get full financial information back to the community but then the community has to report that on a chain
Yeah. So be thinking about that in your report. If it's above 50,000 that you've contracted with and THC for then you'll be reporting that to Treasury directly. So yeah, I think for any any of your infrastructure projects, they probably you'll have higher costs. So be thinking about the reporting necessary for higher cost purchases, contracts, if you've got a sub recipient or sub award, make sure that you've got things in place for that and there are prior sessions that we've done through the navigator program, you should go back and watch those and they'll give you an indication of what all needs to be included in. In those kinds of awards. And the reporting process their guide in the chat bar, the capital projects funded by not February, if not till June. So a little bit of time, but that's every drive in Alaska has access to that $167,000 And that's really focused on connectivity in your community. So make sure you complete that and we'll help you work through it as much as we can. So I think with that, thanks, everybody. Thanks to the AFN navigator program for for these sessions and for support with the grant writing and everything else all the resources that are on the FN navigator page. Sarah, sir, next week is conference. Right. Is there anything that folks should know about? What to expect for next week?
Yes, so there are the AFN conference next Monday and Tuesday on Tuesday, there will be a special report on the infrastructure bill and several roundtable roundtables and listening sessions question and answer period as well on the infrastructure so that additional funding that is coming down and we are also in the process of putting together a half day workshop on funding opportunities and grant writing. And stay tuned for that but on the 20th or the 21st that'll be happening after AFN with respect to the navigator program, Cares Act are in a little bit of a wrap up session of resources and things of that nature. So stay tuned for that.
Great. We'll see everybody there next week. Thank you. Thanks, John. Thanks, everyone.