By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Buchanan County received a huge sum of money from the CARES Act in 2020. Now, the county will get an even bigger allotment in 2021 from the American Rescue Plan.
After getting $10.2 million from the CARES Act, Buchanan County is set to receive another $16.9 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan - a $1.9 trillion COVID relief stimulus that passed through Congress earlier this year.
Lee Sawyer, Buchanan County's presiding commissioner, says the county will see its first allotment of that money within a week's time. The first payment will exceed $8 million.
"We will come up with the different programs that we think fit within the guidelines," Sawyer said on KFEQ's The Hotline. "Hopefully, as we did with the CARES Act, we want to affect as many people as we possibly can, and do the types of things that hopefully have some longer-term impacts. That's one of the things from a personal standpoint I'd like to see."
Much like the CARES Act, Rescue Plan funding is intended to help any business, entity or household that has struggled financially as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sawyers says the commissioners are still figuring out how to best allocate this latest round of COVID relief across the county. One such area this funding can go toward, for example, is the Buchanan County Academy, which has an aging ventilation system.
"We have not very good air circulation out there," Sawyer said. "It's an older system. That fits very well with what they've said about, you know, from a health standpoint - improving infrastructure to help with public health."
Sawyer says this funding can also be put toward virus mitigation efforts, like vaccines and PPE, should the need arise.
"We can still put money toward vaccination programs if that was needed," Sawyer said. "Testing, all of those things. PPE purchases for the protective equipment."
The city of St. Joseph has been allocated $39.7 million from the American Rescue Plan, and is set to receive its first payment of $19.5 million in the coming days.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.