Our town of Beekman's share of the American Rescue Plan - Thank you, Democrats! - is $1.58 million dollars. OMG! My first question is: How will this money be spent? And, my second question, equally as important, is: Who will decide how this money will be spent? We can find some answers in a Locke Lord Quick Study written by Richard A Manley, Jr. and Kathrine Morin, two attorneys, entitled "Relief for State and Local Government Impacted by COVID-19." Here is some of what they say:
The ARP restricts the use of funds received by local and state governments to costs incurred by December 31, 2024 for the following purposes:
- To respond to the COVID-19 emergency or its negative economic impact. These costs could include payment assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits as well as aid to impacted sectors of local economy such as tourism, travel and hospitality.
- To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible state, local or tribal employees or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers.
- To provide government services to the extent COVID-19 caused a reduction in revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year; or
- To make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.
Here's another pivotal question:
- Who will oversee that Beekman's share of the ARP will be spent appropriately? And, will taxpayers get to weigh-in about how some of those funds are spent?