U.S. Rep. Angie Craig virtually met with the mayors of Zumbrota, Wabasha and Burnsville on April 9 to discuss how the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act will help local government and communities.
The federal relief package signed by President Biden on March 11 included $350 billion in direct assistance to state, city and county governments to help secure public sector jobs, stabilize local economic conditions and maintain essential services.
“As we look toward this money beginning to flow, I know many of my local mayors are starting to brainstorm with their city administrators and city councils on how we are going to put that money to work in our local communities,” Craig said.
The rescue plan also distributed $1,400 per-person in stimulus relief to most Americans, expanded COVID testing facilities, built a plan to safely reopen schools and ramped up vaccination efforts.
Zumbrota Mayor Todd Hammel explained that his city is focusing on several different ways they can allocate the funds into the community, but is waiting for clarification from the U.S. Treasury Department on the specifics of where the money can be spent.
“We are looking to partner with Goodhue County to provide dollars to facilitate new in-home day cares and/or day care facilities which will allow frontline workers to remain working or return to work,” Hammel said. “We have had a day care shortage in our area for many years and the pandemic has just worsened that.”
Hammel added that Zumbrota also plans on offering incentives to new businesses looking to open up to facilitate job and economic growth in the community.
Wabasha Mayor Emily Durand explained that her community is also experiencing child care shortages and hopes to use some of the American Rescue Plan funds toward this issue.
“We are really trying to wrap our heads around how to create an incentivized environment for child care providers that has sustainability long term,” Durand said.
Craig said that using American Rescue plan funds to help with the lack of child care options was a good idea and should be discussed further with the Treasury Department.
Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz plans on using a part of the relief funds to help local restaurants and businesses hurt during the pandemic.