The City and Parish Government are set to get windfalls of federal aid from the American Rescue Plan, President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. The Rescue Plan will deliver $1.7 billion in local relief for Louisiana cities, parishes and towns. Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr., said the City expects to receive $6.45 million. He and staff are participating in webinars to learn the details of how the money can be spent because there are some restrictions. The money must be spent by 2025.
Williams is considering programs such as Small Business Administration-type loans. He says City needs new equipment and new programs. “We have made no decisions yet. We’re just looking at a lot of things to see what we can do.” While the City administration is still in the learning phase about how to spend the money, it’s believed the money will flow from Washington to the States and then to parishes and cities. It will probably be disbursed in grants that are applied for by the entities.
Williams said he expects to present a plan soon on how to finance the rehabilitation of water treatment plant #3 and possible construction of a fourth plant that probably will not be part of the COVID rescue plan.
Parish Government expects to receive $7.4 million. Parish President John Richmond said, “My understanding at this point is the money has to be tied to COVID-related losses. We aren’t sure exactly how much we will get. In a perfect world, I’d love to put it all on infrastructure; roads, drainage and bridges, but we will have to stay within the confines of what is allowed. “We’ll put as much as is allowed on infrastructure once we see what the funds pan out to be,” Richmond said.