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Localities get millions in COVID relief

Local governments recently discovered how much of the $350 billion promised to states, counties and cities from the American Rescue Plan they can expect to come their way.

Much like the first two rounds of CARES funding in 2020, the funds are designed to help localities manage the challenges of the pandemic. This latest round of funding comes with 151-pages of rules outlining what the funds can be used for from the U.S. Treasury.

An announcement from the offices of Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said area localities received the following amounts – Buckingham County – $3,330,798; Cumberland County – $1,929,175; Charlotte County – $2,307,552; Lunenburg County – $2,368,930 and Prince Edward County – $4,429,021.

Prince Edward County Administrator Doug Stanley discussed the new funding at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, May 11. He said expanding broadband in the county would be one initiative the funding could be used for.

Unlike the first two rounds, localities have until the end of 2024 to use the funding. The broad guidance for the funds say they are to be used to replace lost revenue, continue public services, retain jobs, support economic stabilization for citizens and businesses and to address public health and economic challenges brought about by the pandemic.

“We welcome the $7.2 billion in relief for Virginia and are pleased the Biden Administration has listened to our calls to give states, localities and tribes significant flexibility in determining how best to use these emergency funds,” the release from Senators Warner and Kaine said. “These funds will allow the commonwealth and localities to recover from the economic harm of COVID, promote public health, invest in broadband, make up for lost revenue and address many of the other impacts of the pandemic.”

In addition to the $2.9 billion earmarked for localities in the state, Virginia state government will receive nearly $4.3 billion in COVID relief funds.