Funds From American Rescue Plan Headed To Westmoreland County

The American Rescue Plan is now law and more than $107 million of it is headed to Westmoreland County. KDKA's Ross Guidotti has more.

Video Transcript

- The American Rescue Plan is now law, and more than $107 million of it is headed to Westmoreland County. That has many people wondering, how will the money be spent?

- Ross Guidotti spoke to county leaders and a business owner today. He joins us now with a look at their hopes for all that funding.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: All right, when you take a look across the street here, Otterman Street at the intersections of North Main and Otterman in Greensburg, you see basically, Greater Things Ministry. Now they've been key in feeding people during the pandemic. Right beside it, Cafe Barista. That is a small restaurant here in Greensburg. They have also wanted some funds to make sure they could stay up in active. County leaders say that is exactly where they want this relief money to go, in the hands of businesses and in the hands of those who've helped others during the pandemic.

JOE BIDEN: I say to foreign leaders and domestic alike, it's never ever a good bet to bet against the American people. America is coming back.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: Enthusiastic words from President Joe Biden after signing the historic $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, of which $107.1 million is headed to Westmoreland County.

GINA CERILLI: It is desperately needed to hit the street as soon as possible.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: But there are some strings attached. The money can only be used for county pandemic revenue shortfalls, broadband, water and sewer upgrades, and compensation for coronavirus response and planning efforts. But it's important to remember the federal government isn't going to just show up in Greensburg with a check for $107.1 million and say, have at it. The money will be spread out over a period of time.

SEAN KERTES: Right, we have 24 months to spend this, almost two years to spend all this money. It's coming in increments, so we're going to get a little bit up front, and it will progressively come after that.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: Cerilli and Curtis say they'd like to earmark certain amounts of money for various projects, including COVID related costs for the courthouse, county prison, and Westmoreland Manor, but that's not all.

GINA CERILLI: We have the nonprofits that are dealing with so much more volume of individuals in our community.

ALLAN LYDIC: We've applied for Westmoreland CARES Act funding in the past, and we received nothing, and I was a little miffed by that.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: Al Lydic is the owner of Greensburg's Newsstand. He says money would help. He just hopes his business isn't overlooked when it's time to distribute the cash the pandemic took away from him.

ALAN LYDIC: I still have rent to pay. That hasn't gone down. I still have utilities. I still have parking and all the expenses that go with owning a business and not as much money coming in to cover those expenses. So costs keep going up.

ROSS GUIDOTTI: All right, the commisioners right now say they're waiting for more guidelines from the federal government regarding overall distribution, essentially who can and who can't get it. However, we know this, it cannot be used in lieu of tax increases, and it cannot go to any county or governmental pension plans. Reporting live in Greensburg, Ross Guidotti, KDKA News.