Officials say federal coronavirus relief dollars signed into law in March could potentially help with local sewer projects in the future.

“The town will be looking to use this money in the best way to benefit the community,” Town Administrator Tim Wellnitz said. “We’re in a very preliminary stage.”

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, municipalities across the country are set to receive relief funding.

The town of Beloit will receive around $763,000 in two separate installments one year apart, Finance Director John Malizio said. Those funds are expected to start arriving in mid-June after the state receives and distributes them.

According to a report by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the ARPA funding can be used in five main categories:

  • Supporting public health expenditures.
  • Addressing negative economic impacts.
  • Replacing lost public sector revenues.
  • Providing premium pay for essential workers.
  • Investing in sewer, water or broadband infrastructure.

Relief funds cannot be used for offsetting a reduction in net tax revenue, depositing into pension funds, or funding debt services, legal settlements, rainy-day funds or general infrastructure improvements, according to the report.

The ARPA includes $350 billion in funding for state and local governments. The state portion is about $195 billion, with each state and the District of Columbia getting $25.5 billion, according to the Government Finance Officers Association.

The local funding portion includes $130 billion divided between cities and counties. About $45.5 billion will go to metropolitan cities. How much money each municipality receives is determined by a formula based on population.

Wellnitz said he is continuing to learn how the funds can be used before making any final decisions. He said he will be keeping an eye on how other area municipalities spend their funds for additional insight.

“We are all made up differently and have different services that each provides, and our communities have different levels of service,” Wellnitz said. “Each community is going to have different needs and different potential options for use of this funding.”

Malizio said the local ARPA funds do not need to be earmarked until the end of 2024, giving the town some time to decide how and when to use the relief money.

“We want to make sure we get that final guidance from the treasury and see how it would benefit the town the most,” Malizio said.


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