Congress must approve some sort of funding bill before Friday at midnight to avoid a government shutdown. (Getty Images)
The Executive Council approved the first installment of money for municipalities from the American Rescue Plan on Wednesday: $56 million for local governments around the state.
The money can be used for public health expenditures, addressing negative economic impacts of the pandemic – which can include economic harm to workers, households, small businesses and industry, and the public sector – and replacing lost public sector revenue. It can also be used to provide premium pay for essential workers and for investments in water, sewer, and broadband, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
All New Hampshire municipalities are eligible for the money, except five of the state’s cities: Dover, Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, and Rochester will receive relief money directly from the U.S. Treasury.
The amount now heading to New Hampshire’s municipalities is half of the total, $112 million. Towns are responsible for applying for the Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, and only towns that apply for the first installment will be eligible for the second installment. The deadline for municipalities to apply for the first round of funding is Aug. 18.
During Wednesday’s meeting, councilors discussed outreach to ensure that towns know that they have to apply in order to receive the aid.
Councilor Joseph Kenney, a Union Republican, said villages and water precincts had been overlooked by the federal delegation. Village districts were not included in the federal aid, which means they will have to request money from the town or county they are associated with.
“The federal government did not take care of the village districts or the precincts,” Kenney said. “They kind of overlook them and say, ‘Go to the township.’”
“That’s kind of like a little brother asking the big brother, ‘Can you give me some money?’ And finding out it’s going to be a lot more difficult than that,” Kenney said.
He asked who would be communicating with the village districts and water precincts.
“We have heard from a number of these village districts,” said Taylor Caswell, the executive director of the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery, or GOFERR. “And we’ve given them a response.”
The office put together a webinar with information for interested municipalities that drew around 200 participants, according to Caswell.
Kenney suggested “force feeding” the information to village districts to ensure they are aware of how to apply for the money.
Municipalities will be able to apply for the money through the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery. The second installment will be issued after June 1, 2022.
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