MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The federal government dispersing $1.9 trillion in aid throughout the country as part of the American Rescue Plan, and over $200 million in direct aid is coming to Montgomery County.
On Monday, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said he was glad to see funding for state and local governments in the final version of the bill, along with allowing for some flexibility in how the funds are spent by jurisdictions.
“The council and the county executive are able to look at the needs of the county and say, ‘Aha! Here is a group of people left behind, here’s a need that’s not been met with other funds,'” Van Hollen said in a press conference.
One of the people in charge of deciding where those millions go is Montgomery County Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz. He says he would like to see the county’s small businesses benefit from the federal funding, along with another key group. Albornoz says nearly three thousand families in Montgomery County are facing eviction after the crisis ends.
“We have a lot of families in crisis, teetering on financial and public health ruin. [We could be] providing direct cash assistance to those who have lost their jobs, those who are significantly in need or are in a transitional period,” said Albornoz.
The $200 million going to the county government are in addition to even more funding going directly to Montgomery County Public Schools and higher education institutions in the county. Van Hollen said.
He explained that the first half of the county government’s funds, about $100 million, “should arrive sometime in the next 90 days.” The second half will come next year, as long as the county keeps a record of where and how it’s spending the first half of its relief funding.