The villages of Brookfield, North Riverside and Riverside are in line to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal financial assistance as part of the American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.
The $1.9 trillion COVID-relief law earmarked $65.1 billion for all municipalities nationwide. Of that total, $45.57 billion will go to larger metropolitan communities with allocations based on the Community Development Block Grant formula.
The remaining $19.53 billion is being directed to the states, who have been tasked with passing those funds through to smaller communities, such as Brookfield, North Riverside and Riverside, on a per-capita basis with payments capped at 75 percent of a municipality’s pre-pandemic budget as of Jan. 27, 2020.
According to projections provided by the federal government to the Illinois Municipal League, Brookfield is expected to receive $2.26 million in American Rescue Plan funds through the state.
Riverside’s cut is expected to be about $1.06 million, with North Riverside taking in about $795,000.
Brad Cole, executive director of the Illinois Municipal League, said municipalities can expect to receive the first half of the federal disbursements from the state sometime in early July. The second half of those payments will come a year later, in summer 2022.
Some local officials have been wary about expecting the full amount of the federal relief payments, since they are being routed through the state. That concern resulted from the way the federal government allowed states to generally decide how relief funds from last year’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, were divvied up.
The state funneled that local money to municipalities through Cook County, which set aside $51 million for Chicago’s suburbs. Compared to the federal funds coming through the American Rescue Plan, the CARES Act reimbursements for COVID-rated expenses were small. Brookfield qualified for about $450,000, with about $187,000 going to North Riverside and $125,000 to Riverside.
Cole says the state and county won’t be allowed to touch money targeted for municipalities.
“It is our understanding they can’t do that,” Cole said. “The [American Rescue Plan] legislation was written to make clear the funds were to pass through without restriction or reduction by the state. If there is, that would conflict with the letter and the intent of the federal law.”
According to the terms of the American Rescue Plan, municipalities will be allowed to use the funds on certain costs incurred through Dec. 31, 2024, including the flowing:
Costs to respond to the COVID-19 emergency and/or its economic impact. Those costs could include assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits or aid those in the travel, tourism or hospitality industries.
Worker costs, such as providing premium pay for essential municipal workers during the COVID-19 emergency or providing grants to eligible businesses which employ essential workers.
To make up for a loss in municipal revenue during the COVID-19 emergency.
To make improvements to municipal infrastructure and broadband services.