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Local Leaders Waiting On Guidance To Spend Millions Of Rescue Plan Funding

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett (Zoom)

The American Rescue Plan Act allocates $350 billion to states, counties, and cities for COVID-19 emergency response and economic efforts.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett says the city’s first deposit of The American Rescue Plan Act fund is supposed to arrive by May 11. The problem is, he can’t start working on what to do with it.

Today sitting right here, I have no guidance on how I can really spend that,” Bennett said.

Terre Haute is slated to receive more than $38 million. Bennett says $19 million of that arrives in less than a month.

If I was going to spend some of this on wastewater, which that's one of the three buckets within the infrastructure bucket, can I use it for design? Or do I just have to use it on a project that's ready to go?”

It’s a problem all local leaders are dealing with. Columbus is allocated $16 million. Mayor Jim Lienhoop says the first step is trying to assess the extent organizations have been affected by the pandemic.

"The visitor center, for example, has had its revenues significantly reduced because of the reduction in stays at hotels. So, that's one of the areas that we would look at, we would also take a look at some of the social service agencies,” Lienhoop said.

The rescue plan act addresses aid with small business, nonprofits, tourism, government services, water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton says the almost $29 million the city is projected to get would defer the need for a possible local income tax increase.

We don't know all the details, but it may well be that that national stimulus and rescue package will mean we don't need to do immediate local revenue generating because of that.

Counties will get millions of dollars more. Bennett says it will take coordination to make sure no one gets left out.

When it comes to not-for-profits and other projects that are going on, we want to make sure that we can make both of our dollars, get that value out of that and spread it,” Bennett said.

Bedford is set to receive more than $2.7 million, Spencer $470,000, and Nashville $230,000.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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