County has no plans for COVID funding

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Madison County has received $10.3 million or about half in its first installment of the federal COVID-19 pandemic recovery monies.

The funding is part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act approved by Congress in March.

Madison County is slated to receive $20.6 million in total, and spokesperson Heath Hall said the county will receive a second installment of $10.3 million next year.

Hall said they have not yet developed plans for spending the money.

So far, Madison County is the only governmental agency in Madison County to have received any of the $30 million total in federal government’s $1.9 trillion federal American Rescue Act funds allocated to the county and the county’s municipalities in the relief act.

“They just opened up the portal, and I would be surprised if anyone had received any money yet,” Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee said last week.

The Treasury Department has issued a 39-page interim rule report detailing the finer points on how governments can utilize the funds that are broadly designated for:

• Support public health expenditures, by, for example, funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff

• Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector

• Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic

• Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in.

“Regarding how the county is going to use the funds, we are currently assessing available uses for the money,” Hall said.

Municipalities were only recently allowed to start applying for the funds and none of Madison County’s municipalities have received any payments yet.

Officials with each of the cities have said they do not yet have plans for how they would spend their portions of the funds that break down as follows:

• $5.7 million, city of Madison

• $5.4 million, city of Ridgeland

• $2.7 million, city of Canton

• $420,000, city of Flora

Anthony Denton, the assistant to Canton Mayor William Truly, said Canton is preparing to apply for the funding and they are working on how to utilize the funds once they are received.

“We have got someone working on some stuff for us now,” Denton said of a spending plan.

Flora City Clerk April Dunlap said the city has not received any funding and would make decisions on spending after reviewing the guidelines.

A report issued by the U.S. Treasury Department showed that as of June 30, the latest available date, Mississippi had received $1,250,000,000 of the total $6 billion allocated to the state.

Mississippi’s funding will be distributed as follows, according to Mississippi Today:

• $429 million for higher education;

• $166 million for capital projects for rural broadband access project;

• $577 million for counties;

• $258 million for smaller cities;

• $97 million for metro cities;

• $1.8 billion to be appropriated by the Mississippi Legislature over the next three years primarily to replace revenue lost because of the pandemic for COVID-19-related costs; and

• $1.6 billion for K-12 education, primarily to be disbursed to local school districts.





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