Troup County leaders discuss money from the American Rescue Plan

Published 11:30 am Saturday, May 22, 2021

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By Cole Trahan
Daily News

Troup County leaders are still discussing how their cities will spend their portion of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

The act allocates $350 billion to states and municipalities, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

West Point Mayor Steve Tramell said it’s too early to know what the city will do with their portion, which will amount to $1,177,397.

“We were just talking about that yesterday,” Tramell said. “I don’t have a whole lot to say about it yet. We have not determined exactly what we’re going to do with it yet.”

He said infrastructure improvements were a possibility.

“We are reviewing it and looking at a number of different options,” he said.

Like Tramell, Mayor Jim Thornton of LaGrange also said it was too early to know what LaGrange will do with its portion. Both leaders said they’ll probably know how the money will be used within a couple of months. LaGrange is expected to receive about $9,548,036, according to estimated by the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee. As with West Point, Thornton said the city will receive its funds in two payments — one this year and the other next year.

“We have not received the funds yet because the funds for cities under 50,000 population are not coming directly to the cities but are being routed through the state,” Thornton said. “We do expect to receive those funds in the next few weeks. I would anticipate a portion of the funds will be used to replace lost tax revenue, particularly hotel/motel tax revenue that went down dramatically during the COVID shut down, and also some of the funds will cover additional expenses that the city incurred related to COVID-19.”

Thornton also said most of the funds will probably be used for water and sewer infrastructure, which is one of the uses Congress authorized.

“I expect the city manager will make specific recommendations to the city council once the funds are received, and we will discuss her recommendations at that point,” he said.

Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz also said it was too early to know how his city would use its funds.

“I don’t know that we have all the rules and regulations yet,” he said.

Troup County will be getting $13,560,941, according to the GMA site spreadsheet. Troup County Manager Eric Mosley said the county is waiting on guidance from the U.S. Treasury on how to use the money.

“We don’t really know exactly how we can spend the money, yet,” said Mosley. “I don’t know about the cities, but the counties are going through the National Association of Counties organization, and they’re providing guidance to counties on how money is to be spent. The U.S. Treasury Department has created a standalone entity within its bounds to provide that guidance. So, there’s still a lot to be learned before we even think about spending any of that money.”