Mike Tedesco, President and CEO of Vision Together 2025, said there was a creative element in the way that American Rescue Plan money that normally wasn’t in state grant programs could be spent.
No guidelines are yet official.
But the U.S. Treasury Department has issued a tentative final ruling on the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan designed by President Joe Biden and the Democrats in Congress in response to the pandemic that hit the economy disrupted at historical levels and resulted in the deaths of more than 625,000 United States residents to date.
• To respond to the public health emergency or its adverse economic impact, including helping households, small businesses and nonprofits, or helping affected industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality;
• To respond to workers doing essential public health work during the COVID-19 emergency by paying a premium to eligible workers;
• For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency compared to revenue accumulated in the last full fiscal year prior to the emergency; and
• To make necessary investments in water, sewage or broadband infrastructure.
“The really interesting thing about these guidelines is that it is the first federal rule I saw about money that says that here is a list of all the things you can do,” Tedesco said. “And by the way, this list is not exclusive, that is, if you can come up with different things that you need to do on behalf of COVID relief or economic development or recovery, those things you can do.”
The American bailout plan originally allocated $ 6.15 billion for counties, cities and local government units of Pennsylvania, including $ 32.2 million for Johnstown, $ 25.3 million for Cambria County, and $ 9.3 million – dollars for Bedford County and $ 14.2 million for Somerset County – although these amounts could be adjusted.
“There is an opportunity here to be transformative with these means,” said Tedesco. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone involved in the process.”
Tedesco has put together a one-page introduction to provide some general information to the recipients of the American rescue plan on the ground. Vision, an organization that supports the city and region, is also planning to hold a workshop in September.
This one-page report on the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds was prepared by Michael Tedesco, director of the Vision Together 2025 program in Johnstown.
The recipients have time to plan, as the use of the funds does not have to be determined until December 31, 2024. All funds must be spent by December 31, 2026.
“It’s just getting started right now, so there is a guide out there,” said Joel Valentine, president and CEO of Wessel & Company, who works for numerous local communities including Johnstown.
“I think a lot of people are waiting to see what some of the bigger churches are doing and then they follow suit,” said Valentine. “… Someone has to be the first person. But it seems like carefully analyzing where to properly spend the dollars is a reasonable thing now.
Valentine said recipients should “look at the guidelines and also work with your legal counsel and auditors to ensure you are spending the dollars to meet all federal guidelines.”
Renee Daly, executive director of Cambria County’s Redevelopment Agency, expects the federal government to release the final plans in September or October.
Daly said she and Ethan Imhoff, executive director of the Cambria County Planning Commission, will host at least two workshops after the guidelines are formalized.
“I don’t have enough details yet to know what to tell people,” said Daly. “Many of them have received their first round of funding and don’t know how to spend it. You contact us and we say that we are not quite sure yet. Just wait until we can give you further advice. “
Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.