SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND)- $742 million in federal funds will be awarded to more than 1,250 small cities, towns, and villages across Illinois that have not already received aid from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, beginning Thursday.
Governor JB Pritzker announced that those still seeking COVID-relief can now apply for their share of the $742 million.
The money is intended to cover expenses incurred while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the first payments expected to be made in August.
"From the beginning of the pandemic, Illinois has taken action to quickly and equitably address the needs facing our local communities," said Governor JB Pritzker. "I'm thrilled that thanks to the Biden-Harris administration and Democrats in Congress, the American Rescue Plan Act is providing residents and small businesses in Illinois with critical funding so communities can start to heal. I encourage every eligible community to apply for this available funding as we continue to build a strong recovery for all of our families."
The State of Illinois has created a website portal that will assist local governments in claiming their allotments.
Authorized community representatives can access the portal now to certify and request their allotment; municipalities completing the portal submission, including all of the documentation required by the U.S. Treasury, can expect to receive half of their funding in approximately 30 days.
The deadline for municipalities to apply for funding is September 30, 2021, and there will be no other opportunity for municipalities to apply for later distributions.
Earlier this year, Congress and the Biden administration approved the ARPA, establishing the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which provides relief for local governments, including smaller governments that have not received direct fiscal assistance from the federal government's onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
States, including Illinois, are receiving funding from the U.S. Treasury Department to distribute to smaller local governments on a per-capita basis. Larger cities and counties have already received funding directly from the federal government.
Eligible local governments include cities, towns, and villages serving populations of less than 50,000 that did not receive direct aid from ARPA.
These smaller, so-called non-entitlement units of local government (NEUs) are being allocated funds to cover revenue losses and the costs of responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts on households, small businesses, impacted industries, essential workers, and the communities hardest-hit by the crisis.
These funds can also be invested in building, maintaining, or upgrading water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
"Local officials are eager to put these funds to use in their communities. The economic impact will be both immediate, due to job creation, and long term, because of the investment in critical infrastructure," said Brad Cole, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal League. "We appreciate Governor Pritzker's partnership with us to strengthen the cities, villages, and towns of Illinois."
Eligible communities will receive a letter detailing their preliminary allotments and instructions about how to access the portal.
Local governments can obtain technical assistance at the site and can register for a webinar scheduled for July 26 at 10 a.m. CST.
Each local government receiving funds will be required to provide a project expenditure report to the U.S. Treasury by the end of October and then annually.
Each must follow all federal compliance and reporting responsibilities. DCEO will help local governments navigate the reporting requirements.
For more information about the program, visit the website.