COVID relief for Webster Township and other local municipalities

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Webster Township, like other municipalities throughout Washtenaw County and around the state, is planning to receive and distribute financial relief that is coming to them through the American Rescue Act Plan of 2021.

This will provide for the Federal Government to distribute $350 billion dollars to municipalities across America.

After receiving some important additional information on May 10, the Webster Township Board had some discussion at its May 18 meeting about the township’s expected amount, which is $672,310. The township board also discussed the list of guidelines attached to it.

According to the Michigan Township Association (MTA), additional guidance and information was released on May 10 by U.S. Department of Treasury with instructions and usage of the American Rescue Act Plan of 2021 (ARPA), approved by Congress and President Biden in March to provide COVID-19 relief to states and local governments.

The MTA said Michigan is expected to receive $10.3 billion—including an estimated $1.46 billion for municipalities—in direct financial relief act.

The Sun Times News (STN) followed up with Webster Township Treasurer John Scharf about ARPA.

Scharf said all of the allocations are based on the 2010 census count. He said the census count is extremely important with this as it directly effects how much money flows into one's local community.

He provided STN with a spread sheet of the ARPA allocations expected across Washtenaw County. The county grand total is expected to be $107,590,304.

Here are some county municipalities and their expected allocations:

  • Chelsea city $534,767
  • Dexter city $465,551
  • Dexter township $647,131
  • Saline city $922,513
  • Scio township $1,769,491
  • Sylvan township $295,425
  • Lyndon township $274,986
  • Lima township $390,806
  • Pittsfield charter township $3,842,999
  • Washtenaw County $71,293,950

Scharf said the ARPA funds come with many constraints as defined in the 151 page “Interim Final Rule” from the Federal Government.

He said he attempted to extract key elements into a four page summary to help the township board and community better understand what’s in the in-depth document.

In part of his four-page summary, he said, “These provisions give force to Congress’s clear intent that Fiscal Recovery Funds be spent within the four eligible uses identified in the statute—

  • to respond to the public health emergency and its negative economic impacts,
  • to provide premium pay to essential workers,
  • to provide government services to the extent of eligible governments’ revenue losses, and
  • to make necessary water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure investments—and not otherwise.

Looking ahead, Scharf said “Webster Township is actively brainstorming ideas on ways that these funds could be used to help our residents.”

“We are open to and encourage input from the community,” he said. “Meanwhile, the County Board of Commissioners and the Broadband Taskforce are also considering the possibilities.”

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