The city of Washington will receive nearly $2.6 million, and the county will receive more than $20 million from the federal government’s most recent COVID-19 relief bill, according to an analysis of the American Rescue Plan.
In total, the state is expected to receive $5.5 billion, which includes $2.8 billion for state fiscal relief, $1.2 billion for county governments, $830 million for cities with a population greater than 50,000 people, $442 million for cities and towns smaller than 50,000 people and $195 million for specific capital improvement projects.
The analysis was completed by the nonpartisan Missouri Budget Project. The state government has not released its official analysis of the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Thursday.
In an interview with The Missourian, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt said he sides with those who think the relief bill is “terrible.”
“The distribution of vaccines, further investment in vaccines, the need to get people reconnected, to extend some unemployment benefits. All that is highly justified and easily done,” Blunt said.
He continued, “There’s going to be a long list of things that people are going to be outraged about when they find out, truly, what was in this bill.”
The Biden administration says 50 percent of the money will be distributed within 60 days of the legislation going into effect. The remaining 50 percent will be released a year later.
Washington City Administrator Darren Lamb said the city was aware the money was coming but will have "to evaluate what the funds can be used for."
The federal government’s four previous COVID-19 relief bills carried a number of restrictions on how the money could be used by city governments.
According to the federal government, the deadline for cities and counties to use the money is Dec. 31, 2024. The money can be used to “respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting negative economic effects, provide ‘premium pay’ to essential public workers, invest in improvements to water, sewer or broadband internet infrastructure,” according to the Budget Project’s analysis.
The Budget Project said governments can use the money to promote economic recovery such as direct assistance to households, grants or loans to small businesses, nonprofits or industries hit hard by the pandemic.
Of Missouri’s 114 counties and the city of St. Louis, Franklin County is set to receive the eighth-largest payment from the federal government. According to the Budget Project, here is what other counties will receive: St. Louis County, $192.8 million; St. Charles, $77.9 million; Jefferson, $43.6 million; Warren, $6.9 million; Washington, $4.8 million; Crawford, $4.6 million; and Gasconade, $2.9 million. The city of St. Louis will receive $58.3 million.
This week, members of the Franklin County Commission lamented the new aid package.
“It’s very substantial and very wasteful. I hate it,” Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said. “But we’re confident that local governments such as counties here in Missouri are much more capable of knowing where to use those funds than the current inept federal government.”
Brinker expects to receive parameters about how the funds from the stimulus package can be acquired and what they can be used for.
Other cities in Franklin County also are expecting to receive funds. These communities include: Union, $2.2 million; Pacific, $1.3 million; St.Clair, $867,000; New Haven, $381,640; Gerald, $241,840; Berger, $40,710; Parkway, $93,750; Oak Grove Village, $86,940; Leslie, $31,310; and Miramiguoa Park, $22,290. Nearby Marthasville will receive $221,000, and Augusta will receive $49,180, according to the Budget Report.