Natrona County and Wyoming Receiving COVID Relief Money
In a press release put out by Governor Mark Gordon, his office has identified a few areas on which the federal dollars will be spent that have been awarded to the state under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP).
Wyoming recently received the first half of the state’s $1 billion in federal money, $534 million, according to Michael Pearlman, communications director for the governor's office.
Gordon said the money will be used address the immediate and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The areas of focus identified are: health and social services, education and workforce, economic diversity and economic development
A preliminary planning framework will be released in June.
The process will include developing proposals for initiatives or new programs for consideration by the Wyoming Legislature.
The funds provided to the state by the ARP do not need to be immediately spent, unlike previously received federal relief funds.
The state has more than three years to spend these funds.
“We are going to be laser-focused on addressing Wyoming’s short and long-term recovery, and on getting people back to work. I want to ensure we use these dollars to thrive in the long-term, because this federal spending is increasing debt on our children and the generations to come. We must not squander this opportunity to invest wisely in our state’s future.”
Pearlman said deciding on exactly how the funds are going to be allocated have not yet been finalized, and that some municipalities will receive money that first goes through the executive branch.
Other counties, towns, and municipalities, as well as tribal governments, will get funding directly from the federal government.
Natrona County for example will be receiving around $15.5 million in funding from the federal government, according to Paul Bertoglio, chairman of the county commissioners.
Bertoglio said the county should be getting the money sometime in the next week or two, and recently received the guidelines by the federal government for what the money could be used for, which, broadly speaking, has to be for "eligible uses."
As far as what qualifies as eligible uses, Bertoglio said that will be determined while the county waits for the money to be deposited in their account.
When the CARES Act passed last year and gave money to states and local governments, Bertoglio said the county had to request for a reimbursement on medical expenditures like UV lights and personal protective equipment.
Bertoglio said he isn't sure where the money will go, but thinks somewhere like the Natrona County Health Department will be high on the priority list.