Tulare County and cities to get millions in relief package

Ben Irwin

County to see $90.4 million from the American Rescue Plan, cities will get additional funds based on different qualifiers for population size

TULARE COUNTY – The American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration’s first legislative win will send $65.1 billion in aid to every city, town and village in the country, and Tulare County will see a $90.42 million share of the COVID relief pot.

Cities and towns within Tulare County will see their own shares as well, independent of the $90.42 million for the county:

  • Visalia: $32.54 million
  • Porterville: $20.73 million
  • Tulare: $17.78 million
  • Dinuba: $4.6 million
  • Lindsay: $2.53 million
  • Farmersville: $2.01 million
  • Exeter: $1.97 million
  • Woodlake: $1.44 million

Upon certification, which cities must actively seek, allocation of funds will come in two phases 12 months apart. Cities with populations above 50,000—Visalia, Porterville and Tulare—will receive their funds directly from the U.S. Treasury, while smaller non-entitlement cities and towns will receive their allocations through the state. Non-entitlement cities cannot receive more than 75% of the city’s most recent budget.

City managers in Tulare County are waiting to commit to any statements on what they might use the funds for as firm guidelines on allowable uses have yet to surface, but per League of California Cities, the legislation has a wide purview of allowable uses.

A wide open description of allowable uses in the legislation included responding to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts by assisting households, small businesses and nonprofits, or aid to industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality.

Additionally, American Rescue Plan funds may be used to provide premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work during the pandemic by providing grants to eligible employers. Municipalities can provide up to $13 per hour above regular wages.

Non-entitlement cities—Dinuba, Lindsay, Farmersville, Exeter, Woodlake and generally every city with a population lower than 50,000—may also use allocated funds to make up for lost revenue during the pandemic. Lost revenue could come from enterprise funds from ratepayers—for example, residents who may not have been able to pay their water or sewer bills during the pandemic—as property values and sales taxes did not fall in the area.

Finally, cities of all sizes may make investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

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