More details were released this week from the federal government on how forthcoming COVID relief funds can be spent.
As part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, Mississippi will receive $1.8 billion with an additional $268 million being doled out to counties and cities throughout the state. The amount received is based on the population share of each location.
Alcorn County government will receive $7,177,687. While Corinth government will also receive funds, the amount is undisclosed because the city has a population of less than 50,000 and is classified as a non-entitlement unit of local government.
The U.S. Treasury Department issued guidelines on how state and local governments may use the federal money once it is received.
Funds may be used for public health, including efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It may also be used to address economic problems that the pandemic has caused for workers, households, small businesses, industries and government. Some of the money can be used to replace tax revenue that was lost because of the pandemic and to provide extra pay for essential workers.
Other acceptable uses are for improvements to water and sewer systems and expansion of broadband access, the Treasury Department said.
States are not allowed to use the money to cut taxes, shore up pension funds or rainy day funds, make payments on long-term debt or pay off legal settlements, under the Treasury rules.
Some states can receive their full share of federal relief money this year and others will receive it in two payments a year apart. The 20 states receiving the full share this year have unemployment rates at least 2 percentage points higher now than in February 2020. Mississippi is among the 30 states with an unemployment rate that has not climbed to that level, so it will receive its money over two years.
How to spend the state money will be decided by lawmakers during the next legislative session in January, however Gov. Tate Reeves could call a special session at any time for the reason.