Schuylkill County Likely Getting More Than $41 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds
Governments in Schuylkill County are about to experience quite the windfall from the American Rescue Plan.
According to estimates from the National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities, the city, boroughs, and townships, along with the county government could get more than $41.2 million over the next 2 years. Of course, these are just estimates, but if true, would represent a major cash infusion for many municipalities here.
Last year, Schuylkill County governments received some funds from the CARES Act but those totals pale in comparison to the bloated figures in the American Rescue Plan.
Remember, President Joe Biden signed this major trillion-dollar spending bill into law earlier this year, on March 11. Many Republicans called much of the spending needless but nevertheless, at some time over the next month, the numerous municipalities and county government will get the first of two payments from the bill.
Schuylkill County Governments Set to Receive American Rescue Plan Funds
The biggest payout goes to the Schuylkill County government. The American Rescue Plan, according to the National Association of Counties estimates released last month, could put $27.4 million in county coffers over the next 2 years.
Payments will be in two parts, half this year and the rest no sooner than a year later. Money is to be sent out from the Dept. of Treasury no later than 60 days after the bill was signed, March 11.
That means about $13.7 million should be headed to the Schuylkill County Courthouse this year, and another $13.7 million in 2022.
But it’s not just the county government that’s due funds from the American Rescue Plan. Small governments will get a piece of the action, too. All together, the City of Pottsville along with the numerous boroughs and townships will get about $13.8 million between this year and next. That’s according to an estimate from the National League of Cities.
The big “winners” in the cash free-for-all are the bigger municipalities, of course.
Pottsville can expect about $1.3 million. Tamaqua is likely to get more than $650,000 and Schuylkill Haven more than a half-million bucks. Wayne and West Penn townships are likely to get the most among townships here.
How much is your hometown getting? Check out the estimates:
How Can American Rescue Plan Money Be Spent?
While this sounds like good news for some cash-strapped local governments, we only need to turn back the clock a few months to understand how this money can be frittered away, especially with little or no oversight.
In 2020, Schuylkill County government officials managed to squander most of the $12.7 million it received from the CARES Act. We still don’t know exactly how the County government spent this largess because the County refuses to disclose that information despite numerous attempts from the public to get the info released.
According to information from US Senate Democrats, who helped get this bill to Biden’s desk for a signature, the rules on how this new round of money can be spent are still being finalized. But here are some preliminary rules.
The money can be spent …
- To respond to the pandemic or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;
- For premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work (as determined by each recipient government) during the pandemic, providing up to $13 per hour above regular wages;
- For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the pandemic (relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency); and
- To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
Image licensed via Depositphotos
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