Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced the County is expecting $63.1 million in federal relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress and signed this afternoon by President Biden. Funding was allocated on a population basis and must be used by December 31, 2024. Howard County Government is expecting half of its allocation in the next 60 days, with the remaining half available one year after the first tranche is paid.
“This robust federal funding is vital to our current COVID-19 response and our long-term recovery,” said Ball. “State and local governments have not received direct relief for nearly a year since the CARES Act was passed last March. We were able to get that funding into the hands of our residents and businesses who needed it most quickly and efficiently. When the federal government failed to provide funding to state and local governments in the stimulus package passed last December, we stepped up as a County with our own funding to continue providing short-term pandemic assistance to our community. Now that the American Rescue Plan has passed Congress and been signed into law by the President, our residents will have the long-term resources needed to ensure an equitable vaccine distribution, continued support for our vulnerable residents and businesses, and the funding necessary for our fiscal recovery. I’m incredibly grateful to our federal delegation who worked to bring this relief to our community and set us on a successful path for recovery.”
“The American Rescue Plan provides a critical lifeline to Americans who have been devastated by the pandemic, and it will direct considerable support to Maryland communities that are hurting. It makes strategic investments in lifting up the hardest hit American families and small businesses to help them recover from this unprecedented crisis, and it takes a comprehensive approach to providing relief and getting the country on the road to recovery,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD). “I am particularly pleased with the amount of support we were able to mobilize to assist county and local governments across Maryland, as they have been stretched far too thin throughout the pandemic with unexpected public health expenditures and declining revenues that pay for essential services such as education and public safety. The American Rescue Plan will direct more than $63 million in support to Howard County, proving again that Maryland’s local governments have an unwavering partner in its federal congressional delegation.”
Allowable uses of coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery funds include:
· Respond to or mitigate the COVID-19 health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and aid for tourism, travel, and hospitality;
· To provide essential workers with premium pay; Cover revenue loss as a result incurred as a result of the COVID-19 emergency; or
· To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure
State and local governments are prohibited from using the funds to support any pension fund or offset a tax cut.
“We applaud the House and Senate for passing the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds and thank President Biden for swiftly signing the bill into law. The legislation recognizes counties’ vast responsibilities to care for our most vulnerable residents – our sick, unemployed, elderly and youth,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase. “While counties face record demand for essential services, we have shed jobs at rates far outpacing the rest of the economy. Even as the nation’s economy inches toward recovery, one in every 10 jobs yet to be recovered is from our local governments.”
“We’re glad that our federal delegation really stood up for our Counties, which have been on the front lines of this pandemic every day. These federal dollars will provide much needed relief and will be critical in stabilizing county budgets and local economies,” said Maryland Association of Counties Executive Director Michael Sanderson.