April 27, 2021, updated June 30, 2021
Cuyahoga County is expected to receive $240 million under the federal 2021 American Recovery Act. The first payment of half of the amount of $120 million has been received and the second payment should be received a year later.
The federal government has not yet released detailed guidance on how these funds may be spent, but the legislation authorizes four broad categories:
1. Any programs that are directly responsive to protecting health during the pandemic and helping those who have suffered economic losses due to the pandemic, such as restaurants, performing arts facilities, and community organizations, and individuals who need supports such as rental assistance.
2. Supplemental pay to employees required to work under hazardous conditions due to the pandemic.
3. Direct governmental services, to the extent that federal funds used to provide these services replace revenue lost as a direct result of the pandemic.
4. Water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
“These funds will greatly help out county respond to many community needs that have emerged due to the pandemic, especially rental and mortgage assistance, homelessness response, and business and community organization assistance,” Councilman Dale Miller stated. “I am hopeful that these funds will also help us do some things that urgently need to be done but for which in the past we have not been able to find money for, such as making broadband internet access widely available in the county, regardless of income or geographic location," he added. "In particular, it appears that there may be ways to use some of these funds for projects related to climate change and clean energy, and I am exploring these options," he concluded.
Councilman Miller held a preliminary discussion on these funds in the Finance and Budgeting Committee in May and will actively work with his colleagues and the administration to come up with the best possible uses for this money to make transformational changes for our county.