Howard County is expected to receive $63.1 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law Thursday by President Joe Biden
Howard County government is expecting half of that money in the next 60 days. The second half will arrive a year after the first. The county has until Dec. 31, 2024, to spend all of the funds.
“This robust federal funding is vital to our current COVID-19 response and our long-term recovery. State and local governments have not received direct relief for nearly a year since the CARES Act was passed last March. We were able to get that funding into the hands of our residents and businesses who needed it most quickly and efficiently,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement.
“When the federal government failed to provide funding to state and local governments in the stimulus package passed last December, we stepped up as a county with our own funding to continue providing short-term pandemic assistance to our community.”
Howard County received $56.8 million in federal CARES Act funding from the state of Maryland on June 1, with the county health department receiving $15.4 million and the government getting the rest. Those funds were to assist with salaries for emergency management and services dedicated to mitigating and responding to the coronavirus pandemic; acquisition and distribution of supplies; expenses for public safety measures; communications and enforcement; and disinfection of public areas.
Though the county didn’t announce any specific plans for the American Rescue Plan Act funds on Thursday, the money will be allowed to be used for the following purposes:
Respond to or mitigate the COVID-19 health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, and aid for tourism, travel and hospitality;
Provide essential workers with premium pay or cover revenue loss incurred as a result of the COVID-19 emergency; and
Make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.