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    (THOMAS WALLNER | THE GRAHAM LEADER)

County discusses $1.7 million American Rescue Plan Act funding

The Young County Commissioners Court, during its Nov. 8 meeting, discussed possible uses of the near-$1.7 million the county expects to receive from the American Rescue Plan. ARP provides funding for agriculture and nutrition programs, COVID-19 vaccinations, small business assistance, health care providers in rural areas, extended unemployment benefits and makes student loan forgiveness tax-free through 2025, along with other provisions.

Four provisions within the act dictate how local governments may spend their allocated funding: respond to the COVID-19 emergency and address its economic effects, including through aid to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality; provide premium pay to essential employees or grants to their employers (premium pay could not exceed $13 per hour or $25,000 per worker); provide government services affected by a revenue reduction resulting from COVID-19 and/or make investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

State and local government recipients can use the funds to cover costs incurred by Dec. 31, 2024. The funds would be distributed in two branches, with 50% delivered no later than 60 days from the date of enactment, and the remainder delivered no earlier than one year later. States would have to distribute funds to smaller towns within 30 days of receiving a payment from the department. States that miss the deadline would have to pay back any undistributed funds. A town cannot receive more than 75% of its budget as of Jan. 27, 2020. The Treasury Department could also withhold up to half of a state or territory’s allocation for as long as 12 months based on its unemployment rate and require an updated certification of its funding needs.

During the meeting, Young County Judge John Bullock said he had received funding requests from two taxing entities within the county.

“We’ve (received) two requests here, one from Graham Regional Medical Center and one from Olney Hamilton Hospital for a portion of those funds. One of them requested $700,000 and the other for $400,000,” Bullock said.

For the rest of the story, see the Nov. 20 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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