WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Cities, towns, and villages in Erie and Niagara counties could be getting millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief if the president’s “American Rescue Plan” is passed in Congress.
The plan would provide $350 billion in aid for state and local governments, based on need and population.
According to Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) municipalities in the two counties could receive over $792 million in federal disaster relief, according to just released data from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is overseeing the state and local aid component of the bill.
Due to its record unemployment, New York State is in line for a healthy cut.
Because the allocations for states is based largely on the number of unemployed residents, New York is in line for a healthy cut. According to the data from the House Committee, New York State will receive about $12.6 billion in funding.
Other municipalities in the state will get about $10.6 billion. The money is slated to be used to protect jobs of front line workers and allow towns and cities to maintain essential services. The goal is to also mitigate any rise in property tax hikes that municipalities may have to enact to make ends meet.
Erie County and its municipalities would receive about $542 million with the most money going to the City of Buffalo, $324 million. In Niagara County, $127 million would be split between the county, cities, towns and villages with the most money, $55 million going to the City of Niagara Falls. County governments will also be getting funding as part of the plan.
For nearly a year, state & local governments have been on the front lines of fighting #COVID19
— Brian Higgins (@RepBrianHiggins) February 10, 2021
- Erie County – $180 million
- Niagara County – $41 million
- Chautauqua County – $25 million
- Cattaraugus County – $15 million
- Genesee County – $11 million
- Allegany County – $9 million
- Orleans County – $8 million
- Wyoming County – $8 million
The plan was passed by the House Committee this week and has been sent to House leaders. It is expected to go before the full Congress for a vote in the coming weeks.
How can the money be spent, and how were the allocations determined?
In response to questions from 2 On Your Side, a representative of Congressman Higgins’ office sent the following information, noting that there is always a chance that the bill could be modified as it makes it way through the United States Senate.
Q: What are the guidelines for how the funding can be used?
The bill text reads:
(1) USE OF FUNDS.—A metropolitan city, non entitlement unit of local government, or county receiving a payment from funds made available under this section shall only use such amounts to—
(A) respond to or mitigate the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) or its negative economic impacts;
(B) cover costs incurred as a result of such emergency;
C) replace revenue that was lost, delayed, or decreased (as determined based on revenue projections for the metropolitan city, non entitlement unit of local government, or county as of January 27, 2020) as a result of such emergency; or
(D) address the negative economic impacts of such emergency
Q: How will the funding be delivered?
If the unit of government is receiving funding directly from the treasury, they have to submit a certification of need and intended uses statement and will receive the payment no less than 60 days after submission. If the unit of government is receiving the money from the state’s allotment, they will receive the funding up to 30 days after the state receives the payment from Treasury. Treasury will provide additional guidance on the administration of the program.
Q: What formula was used?
$350 billion is allocated in the legislation for state & local governments – 60% to states/40% to localities (see breakdown below):
States and the District of Columbia: $195.3 billion
- $25.5 billion equally divided — every state receives at least $500 million
- $169 billion based on the state share of total unemployed workers
- The District of Columbia would be made whole after being treated as a territory in previous coronavirus funding Acts
Local governments: $130.2 billion divided evenly between cities and counties.
- $65.1 billion to cities using a modified Community Development Block Grant formula
- $45.57 billion for municipalities with populations of at least 50,000
- $19.53 billion for municipalities with populations of less than 50,000
- $65.1 billion to counties based on population
Territories: $4.5 billion
- $2.25 billion divided equally and $2.25 billion based on population
Tribes: $20 billion to federally recognized Tribal governments.
- $1 billion divided equally
- $19 billion divided as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury
Published by WGRZ