Small metropolitan cities still don’t know how they will spend federal stimulus money

“We want to be ready to act when we clearly understand the rules and know how much money we’re going to get,” Simpkins said. “Until we get the money, we’ll wait.”

Staff will present ideas to city council in the coming months, Simpkins said, after making sure that the guidelines that have at times been “confusing” are clearly understood.

Local government can use the dollars to replace lost income from the pandemic, fund COVID-19 mitigation efforts, provide payments to essential workers, or address economic damage to workers, households, small businesses or to affected industries.

Municipal authorities could also invest the funds in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

The latest round of federal pandemic relief funds, dubbed CARES, were quickly shared with businesses struggling with closures and reduced traffic. Government officials will have years, rather than months, to use the new funds.

Lawrenceville is expected to receive approximately $ 11.51 million. The town of Gwinnett may consider investing in capital projects or providing additional pay for essential workers, City Manager Chuck Warbington said. Staff will present ideas to city council for consideration in July or August, he said.

Before making any decisions, the staff at Lawrenceville want to make sure “that we are able to point our I’s and cross our T’s to make sure it meets the requirements,” Warbington said.

Nothing is final, but Dunwoody officials have had preliminary discussions on how to spend the $ 18.43 million they are waiting for in funds, Deputy Managing Director Jay Vinicki said. The city of DeKalb could use the funds to help businesses most affected by COVID-19, he said, as how he spent the CARES money.

“We have hotels … (which) have been vacant for most of the year,” Vinicki said. “We’re starting to see the beds filling up, but it’s still an industry that needs help. Our biggest loss of total revenue was hotel / motel taxes, and we need to do everything we can to help these businesses get back on their feet. “

Dunwoody will delay budgeting for the second payment, Vinicki said, wary of planning for more funds than he actually receives.

Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Johns Creek, Smyrna, South Fulton and Stonecrest were among the wave of major cities that recently discovered their funding estimates had dwindled due to complicated financial formulas buried deep in the long drawn out legislation passed by the Congress.

These cities were incorrectly classified as smaller cities in a March estimate from a US House committee, resulting in significantly lower amounts of treasury funding than originally planned. Johns Creek saw a 73% reduction in funds between the March and May estimates.

Cities of less than 50,000 inhabitants will be capped at receiving 75% of their total operating budget. Conflicting information about how the rewards would be calculated initially left city staff scratching their heads.

Like other cities, Powder Springs in Cobb County will likely review staff recommendations around July to spend its $ 5.88 million in projected funds, City Manager Pam Conner said. It is still too early to say how the funds will be spent, she said.

Milton is expected to receive $ 14.78 million. After preliminary discussions, staff at the North Town of Fulton plan to present ideas to city council in the coming weeks, Deputy City Manager Stacey Inglis said.

“It is important for us to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars by being deliberate, determined and efficient in the use of those funds,” Inglis said in an email. “And although at this time we do not have final plans approved by Council, the Town of Milton is extremely grateful to have access to this funding. “

Top 5 Funding Amounts for Cities in Georgia Under 50,000

  • Dunwoody: $ 18,431,324
  • Peachtree Corners: $ 16,395,722
  • Newnan: $ 15,527,856
  • Milton: $ 14,783,224
  • Tucker: $ 13,591,216

A full list of funding amounts for cities under 50,000 is available on the Georgia Governor’s Office for Planning and Budget website: https://opb.georgia.gov/local-fiscal-recovery-fund.


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