Lt. Gov. wraps up statewide tour on federal relief funds

Published 11:00 am Friday, May 28, 2021

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann wrapped up a statewide tour this week urging state and local officials, educators and business leaders to work together in allocating the billions of dollars in new federal relief funds currently flowing into the State.

The Mississippi Legislature is set to receive $1.8 billion from the American Rescue Plan, which was enacted by Congress in mid-March 2021. Cities and counties in Mississippi will receive almost $950 million. Several billion more will escalate directly to state agencies, including K-12 schools, which will receive about $1.6 billion.

“We have visited with citizens from about 40 counties so far, and the consensus is clear: we have a major opportunity here. We can employ these funds to create generational change in our State, but we must engage right now in the hard work of communication, research and planning,” Hosemann said.

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Hosemann visited Brookhaven in April, meeting with leaders from the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors, Brookhaven Board of Aldermen, county schools, county and city offices and local legislators. Hosemann told them then to make their plans and get things in order for the federal funds coming their way.

The American Rescue Plan Act is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in March, with the intended goal of speeding up the country’s recovery from economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession.

“We will never get that much money again,” Hosemann said.

Education in Mississippi will receive $1.6 billion, with $400 million going to higher education, Hosemann said. Cities and counties will receive $932 million — Brookhaven will receive a direct payment of $2.69 million and Lincoln County $6.62 million.

In general, this latest round of federal relief funds can be used to respond to the pandemic emergency, including addressing economic effects to households, small businesses and industries; invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure; and fill any gaps in services created by revenue reduction.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury released regulations, frequently asked questions, and other documents detailing the proper uses of the relief funds in mid-May 2021.

“You need to do your planning now,” Hosemann said during his Brookhaven visit. “This will permeate the future for your children and grandchildren, so we need to get it right.”