Elkins to Seek Input on Rescue Act Funds
The city’s $2.9 million disbursement could come with significant restrictions
Elkins, W. Va., March 15, 2021: In response to news reports that the City of Elkins is slated to receive approximately $2.9 million in federal funds through the recently enacted American Rescue Act, city officials have begun considering how this money might be used. The city has not yet received any official guidance concerning allowed uses or other restrictions.
“This payment is one of the biggest things to happen to Elkins in generations,” says Finance Committee Chairman Charlie Friddle. “We need to think carefully about what the highest and best uses for it would be.”
Friddle emphasized that it is early to begin considering concrete possibilities.
“Frankly, we don’t know any more about this funding than what has appeared in the news,” he said. “The federal government hasn’t communicated with us in any way about this yet, so we really don’t know how this money can be spent.”
Although details concerning this payment are not yet known, past stimulus funds have had significant restrictions attached.
“CARES Act money could only be spent on very specific categories of pandemic-related costs,” said City Clerk Jessica Sutton. “We don’t know if this funding will be as restricted, and it’ll be a bit of a waiting game before we find out. Remember, CARES Act money took a long time to reach states, and the guidance on how it could be used changed frequently throughout last year.”
Before finalizing any decisions about this money, officials will seek input from the community at large. Officials will also consult with partner agencies and organizations, including the Randolph County Commission, which is reported to be receiving its own $5.6 million disbursement.
According to statewide organizations and news reports, American Rescue Act funds for local governments are expected to be disbursed in two payments, one in April and one about a year later.
“One thing we have to keep in mind is that this is one-time windfall money, not new recurring income,” said Treasurer T. Judy. “We need to make sure we don’t spend it in ways that create ongoing costs that would be difficult to cover once it’s gone.”