Valley governments to reap millions of dollars from American Rescue Plan
Garfield County projected to receive $12M; Glenwood Springs at $2.13M
Governments in the Roaring Fork Valley are projected to reap big windfalls from the American Rescue Plan Act, according to information provided by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Colorado.
President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill provides $350 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments. Neguse, who voted for the relief package, posted on his website the estimates of how much every county and municipality in Colorado will receive.
In the upper Roaring Fork Valley, Pitkin County will receive an estimated $3 million. Eagle and Garfield counties, with much larger populations, will reap substantially more. Eagle County will get an estimated $11 million. Garfield County is in line for $12 million.
Among the valley municipalities, Glenwood Springs is expected to receive the biggest amount of aid at $2.13 million. Aspen is next at $1.59 million, while Carbondale is estimated to receive $1.48 million.
Among the smaller towns, the estimate is Basalt will receive $890,000 while Snowmass Village will get $590,000. Marble, which is incorporated, is in line for a $30,000 payday.
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Basalt Mayor Bill Kane welcomed news of the estimated dollar amount for the town. While it was apparent that the American Rescue Plan had funds for local governments, town officials were awaiting news on the amount, he said.
Basalt Town Manager Ryan Mahoney said he expected the windfall to total around $800,000.
“The most important thing is to figure out what the allowed uses will be,” Mahoney said. “We’d like to put it to good use in the community.”
Kelly McNicholas Kury, chair of the Pitkin County Commissioners, said the board was aware that the county would receive at least $3 million from the American Rescue Plan, but hasn’t discussed how to allocate the funds.
“I would expect that we would put it toward some of our board priorities — such as looking at mental health, jail-based behavioral services perhaps and trying to get our arms around solving that problem or climate action is always on the table,” McNicholas Kury said.
There is also a broader conversation occurring among counties on how additional stimulus money available through the state could be applied to tackle regional problems, she said.
McNicholas Kury noted that the county is still accruing public health expenses from the pandemic, but it is seeking funds from the previously passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for reimbursement.
City of Aspen spokesperson Denise White said city officials are aware that funds will be dispersed through the American Rescue Plan but they won’t hold discussions on spending until the amount is known.
Neguse said in a statement last week that many local governments have been “knocked down by this pandemic, and we cannot expect them to weather this storm alone. These funds will provide critical relief to towns and counties across Colorado to ensure they can continue vital government operations, and keep their residents safe.”
The U.S. Treasury Department’s website said the funds provided by the act were intended to offset some of the revenues losses experienced by some local governments. It outlined general uses allowed for the funds, including investments in infrastructure.
“In addition to helping these governments address the revenue losses they have experienced as a result of the crisis, it will help them cover the costs incurred due (to) responding to the public health emergency and provide support for recovery — including through assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, aid to impacted industries, and support for essential workers,” the Treasury Department’s post said.
Basalt was more fortunate than many cities and towns during the thick of the pandemic. Its sales tax revenues climbed rather than fell last year.
Kane said the Basalt Town Council would collectively determine how to use and distribute the American Rescue Plan funds.
“I think this bodes well for nonprofits and organizations focused on health and human services that were hit by the pandemic,” he said. “Assistance to businesses is going to be in this formula as well.”
Mahoney said he is uncertain when Basalt will receive the first of its funds. Information he gleaned said the state governments would disperse the funds within 30 days of receipt from the feds.
Local governments also received smaller amounts of funds approved in stimulus acts while Donald Trump was president. Basalt, for example, received about $200,000 in funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The fund uses included mini-grants for businesses, rent relief for residents who met certain criteria and a local stimulus program called Basalt Bucks.
Here are projections of the dollar amounts local governments will receive from the American Rescue Plan:
Pitkin County: $3 million
Eagle County: $11 million
Garfield County: $12 million
Aspen: $1.59 million
Snowmass Village: $590,000
Carbondale: $1.48 million
Glenwood Springs: $2.13 million
Source: Congressman Joe Neguse’s website
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Aspen Glen residents and other speakers at a public hearing lobbied the Garfield County commissioners to keep a protective buffer in place on about 25 acres of the golf club to protect wildlife. No decision was reached.