The federal government’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan is certainly going to stimulate the bank accounts of city and county governments.
According to preliminary figures, County Executive Jimmy Haley said he’s been informed Warren County government will be receiving around $8 million from the stimulus.
McMinnville city administrator Nolan Ming says he’s been informed by Tennessee Municipal League city government will receive $3.69 million.
“This came as a shock,” said Ming. “I had no idea we’d be seeing that type of money. We have plenty of places to put it and we’re still waiting on guidelines on how to spend it.”
An example sent to Ming on Wednesday said the money could be used for water or sewer projects, or to expand broadband infrastructure. He said this would be the third time since the COVID outbreak the city has been granted federal funds. The first two times amounted to around $900,000, with $340,000 of that still to come Aug. 1.
The federal government will distribute the funds in two phases with half the amount being given each time. The U.S. Treasury has 60 days to distribute the first installment to each state and the states will then have an additional 30 days to distribute the funds to local governments.
If the full 90 days is used, that puts the funds arriving in mid-June.
The second half of the allocation will be distributed one year following receipt of the first half.
With the city of McMinnville borrowing up to $10 million for Civic Center renovation and expansion, it’s unknown if the $3.69 million could be used toward that debt.
“This just came out Wednesday and I do have a lot of questions about it,” said Ming. “One of them is can we use it to pay down debt?”
Haley said there’s still uncertainty about spending the funds.
“Guidelines have yet to be determined,” said Haley. “Special audits and oversight will be attached to the spending.”