Coronavirus relief package includes $13.81 million for local government


Jackson County’s four municipalities and the county will receive $13.81 million through the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package signed into law Thursday by President Joe Biden at the White House.

Jackson County is slated to receive $8.58 million in relief, according to numbers provided by Indiana Ninth District Congressman Trey Hollingsworth’s office.

Seymour and Jackson County’s three towns will receive funds for costs incurred up until the end of 2024.

Seymour will receive $4.16 million, Brownstown $600,000, Crothersville $320,000 and Medora $150,000. Indiana is expected to receive $5.87 billion.

Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson said he has seen the coronavirus relief fund numbers for Seymour but is not sure what the funds will be usable for yet.

“This is strictly a guesstimate at the moment until we know more about how the money can be used, but I expect some of it to be used for infrastructure, like road repairs and some projects down the pipeline,” Nicholson said. “Also, maybe some capital investments, like moving up vehicle purchases.”

He said if allowed, perhaps some of the funds could be placed in the general fund to have a little more cash on hand than there is at this time.

“I’m sure we’ll be finding out a lot more details soon,” Nicholson said.

Brownstown Town Council President Gregg Goshorn said he knew there was a stimulus package in the works but wasn’t sure what or if any money would work its way down to the town level.

“We have stretched our budget thin in order to be in a position to apply for matching grant work at the town park,” he said. “Not sure about the restrictions on its use, but it should give the town some additional flexibility. In the coming weeks, the council will examine how the additional funds can be best used.”

Crothersville Town Council President Danieta Foster said she was aware there was money in the relief package for towns, but she had been unable to find any specifics on how it can be used.

After speaking with a nearby mayor, she learned how much Crothersville was going to receive.

She also was speaking to him about a significant problem at the town’s water treatment plant, so if it’s allowed, the money could go toward that.

“This money would be a godsend for Crothersville and its residents if there are no restrictions that keep us from using it there,” Foster said.

Jackson County Council Vice President Dave Hall shared his thoughts on the relief package.

“I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t think (the county) needs $8.5 million,” he said.

Hall said Cook County, Illinois, is getting just under $1 billion dollars. Los Angeles County, California, is getting just under $2 billion dollars. Marion County (Indianapolis) is getting $424 million while the United States has $28 trillion in national debt.

Hall didn’t know what the county would use the funding for, but said he knew “that there were requirements for lost revenue due to the government’s overreaction to COVID.”

Fellow county Councilman Brian Thompson also said he doesn’t know what the rules are for how the funding should be used, but he personally felt that the county needs the most help with its highway roads.

“When people quit buying gas, we received no road tax funds,” he said. “At the exact same time the asphalt is going to go up in price because first — government induced inflation, and secondly because petroleum is up.”

He also talked about he felt about the county receiving funding.

“Anytime you get revenue like this, the best thing to do with that is invest in your future,” he said. “Investing in those county roads saves us in the future.”

The bill also includes stimulus checks. Individuals who earn less than $75,000 per year will receive the full $1,400 check amount. Married couples who jointly earn less than $150,000 will receive a $2,800 check.

Taxpayers who have direct deposits set up with the IRS can likely expect to see stimulus checks arrive in their bank accounts by the end of the month.

According to The Associated Press, the Treasury Department is expected to quickly get to work on processing stimulus checks and other pandemic aid provisions bankrolled by the massive legislation.

Biden signed one of the largest stimulus packages in American history into law, pouring nearly $2 trillion into a wide-ranging effort to crush the coronavirus and bring the pandemic-ravaged U.S. economy back from the brink of disaster.

Appearing in the Oval Office with Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden said before signing the American Rescue Plan that the bill is about bringing immediate relief to the millions of people in the United States battered by the pandemic.

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation — working people, middle-class folks, people who built the country — a fighting chance,” Biden said during the brief signing ceremony. “That’s what the essence of it is.”

The bill also extends far beyond checks and providing budgetary relief for state and local governments.

It includes hundreds of billions of dollars for coronavirus vaccination and testing efforts, school reopenings, rental assistance, food programs and aid for small and big businesses, from restaurants and music venues to airlines and transit agencies.

The legislation also extends a $300-per-week federal unemployment aid bonus through September and makes the first $10,200 earned in jobless benefits tax-free, providing a lifeline for the millions of Americans who remain out of work because of the pandemic.

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