By Dan Spalding
WARSAW — Buckets and buckets of money.
Kosciusko County – and every other county in America– is about to receive a historic infusion of money even if the recipients find it politically repulsive.
That seems to be the case in Kosciusko County.
In one fell swoop, President Joe Biden and the Democrats approved a $1.9 trillion relief package that has already provided millions of Americans with $1,400 stimulus checks and will eventually result in roughly $21.7 million being channeled to cities and towns in Kosciusko County, according to a government publication.
(Scroll down to see how much communities will receive)
That bundle of unexpected money from the American Rescue Plan is on top of several previous relief packages overseen by the Trump Administration – not to mention what lies ahead if the president’s two-part multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure bills are approved.
So yes, this is oodles and oodles of money on a level we’ve never seen before that will ultimately benefit communities in different ways regardless of whether you agree with the concept.
Kosciusko County officials announced plans on Tuesday, April 27, to accept the county’s $15.4 million share but did so while expressing great concern about the long-term financial impact for the country. In the same breath, though, they contend the money belongs to taxpayers and they intend to use it. Hard to argue. I can appreciate both points.
On Monday, May 3, Warsaw City Council will consider accepting its $3.1 million and it’s a safe bet they’ll join every other recipient in accepting the money.
Local elected officials are waiting to learn more details about how the money can be used and are taking a cautious approach to the offer as they look for loopholes and dreaded stipulations tied to the money.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said he thinks it will be administered and overseen similar to how the CARES Act was handled.
Thallemer serves as the president of AIM (Accelerate Indiana Municipalities), a statewide group that represents local governments. He said he believes there will be separate buckets of money available that will allow taxing units to recoup lost revenues, such as the gas tax, incurred during the pandemic.
Another bucket will be set aside for broadband and public water systems projects. Another will be aimed to assist small businesses and not-for-profits.
And while that seems like a lot, Thallemer points out the money dedicated to states and local government – about $350 billion – is only a small share of the overall $1.9 trillion.
In other words, there will be opportunities for more money trickling down to the grassroots.
“You’re talking about lots and lots and lots of dollars in three different, huge buckets,” Thallemer said, referring to Biden’s first two mega spending plans (ARP and infrastructure).
As is often the case, there is no easy option if relief is to be provided. You either kick the can down the road in terms of the nation’s deficit or you raise taxes. Somehow, more debt is certainly less painful (for now) than a tax hike.
Is all of this really needed? Certainly not. Will it benefit the economy? I bet so. Will it ruin our country? Time will tell, but I doubt it.
Thallemer is one of many leaders who will use the money with some reluctance.
“I certainly have concerns about the volume of dollars that are being generated – a huge expansion of the federal government. I may share those concerns as well. We’re going to have to pay the piper,” Thallemer said.
“The money’s coming our way. It’s been allocated. We’re going to use it to benefit our community,” he said.
Here is a list of other recipients (all of the figures are rounded down):
- Nappanee, $1.4 million
- Winona Lake, $1 million
- Syracuse, $600,000
- Milford, $326,000
- North Webster, $243,000
- Pierceton, $212,000
- Mentone, $201,000
- Etna Green, $122,000
- Leesburg, $115,000
- Claypool, $90,000
- Burket, $41,000
- Sidney, $16,000
Other neighboring counties:
Elkhart County, $40 million
Elkhart, $18 million
Goshen, $6.8 million
Marshall County, $8.9 million
Plymouth, $2.0 million
To see a complete list in Excel, click here.
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Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.