DENVER, CO – The U.S. Treasury Department released a breakdown Monday of what kind of financial aid communities can expect from the $ 350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.
Denver is set to receive $ 308 million. The city was one of 19 Colorado parishes that received funding through the program.
The funds will help restore services in Denver, eliminate vacation days, aid vaccination efforts and provide financial recovery for Denver residents, the city said.
“The pandemic has dealt a blow to our community worse than anyone since the Great Depression,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement.
“These American Rescue Plan funds will help provide a unique opportunity to create sustainable, equitable recreation for our city. We have a strong recovery plan and luckily we now have a federal partner ready with resources for a fair and more sustainable reconstruction with local efforts, “said the mayor.
Emergency funding for local government was established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The funds are intended to be used to respond to acute pandemic needs, fill revenue gaps between state and local governments, and provide hardest support to communities and populations. Affected by the COVID-19 crisis, according to the US Treasury Department.
“We expect to receive the first allotment of dollars from the Treasury Department in the coming days and we will combine this relief with planned local investments to support our recovery,” said Brendan Hanlon, chief financial officer for the city and the city Denver county.
“The scale of these investments will be palpable for generations to come. We look forward to initiating a community and city council engagement round in mid-May and starting the first round of funding this summer.”
Local governments will receive funding in two tranches – half of Denver’s funding will be allocated this month and the rest will be allocated in a year, officials said. The city has begun reviewing the US Treasury Department’s guidelines on acceptable uses for the funding, and the Denver government plans to work with the community and city council this month to identify priorities for how the funds will be allocated.
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“With this funding, communities affected by COVID-19 can return to a semblance of normalcy. They can hire teachers, firefighters and other key workers – and help small businesses reopen safely,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in US Treasury an explanation.
During the Great Recession of 2007-2009, when cities and states faced similar revenue losses, the federal government did not provide enough help to fill the void, Yellen said.
According to the Treasury Department, recipients can not only allow flexible spending up to the amount of their lost revenue, but also use funds to:
- Support to public health spendingby funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral health care, mental health treatment and substance abuse, and certain public health and safety workers responding to the crisis
- Address the negative economic impact of the public health emergencyThese include hiring public sector workers, providing aid to households affected by food, housing or other financial uncertainties, providing support to small businesses, and expanding support to industries hardest hit by the crisis
- Help the communities and populations hardest hit by the crisisSupporting an equitable recovery by not only addressing the immediate harms of the pandemic, but also by exacerbating long-standing disparities in public health, economy and education
- Provision of a premium wage for key employeesand provides additional support to those who, as a result of their service, have borne and will bear the greatest health risks during the pandemic
- Invest in water, wastewater and broadband infrastructureImproving access to clean drinking water, supporting the infrastructure for vital sewage and rainwater, and expanding access to broadband internet
Patch Editor Jenna Fisher contributed to this report.