Blythewood in line to receive $1.55M from ARP

BLYTHEWOOD – Town officials haven’t yet received official word, but the Town of Blythewood is estimated to be in line for $1.55 million from the recently signed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The Town of Winnsboro is estimated to receive $1.19 million; Ridgeway, $0.11 million and Jenkinsville, $0.02 million.

While broad guidelines are available as to how towns can spend the money, the S.C. Municipal Association has cautioned against spending the money until more specific guidelines are in place. Misspending the funds could result in having to repay the funds.

Grant allocations for towns under 50,000, including Winnsboro, Ridgeway and Jenkinsville, are based on population size.

The full bill, signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this month, totals $1.9 trillion in spending. About $45 million of that is earmarked for larger cities, but those with a population of under 50,000, will pull from an allocation of almost $20 billion.

“I have asked the council to be prepared to discuss the money during our budget session so we can prioritize our needs,” Blythewood Mayor Bryan Franklin said. “Right now, my input will be park security upgrades, fencing over the I-77 bridge and land acquisition for the expanded park and green space.”

What are the allowable uses of the funds?

COVID-19 public health emergencies and the economic impact they cause can be addressed with the funds, as is assistance for households, small businesses and non-profits. Aid can be offered to industries impacted by the pandemic (specifically the tourism and hospitality industries). The funds can help support extra pay for essential workers, though the extra funds will have a cap of around $25,000. Grants can be given out of the money to companies with employees that perform essential duties. Cities themselves can offset their losses from the pandemic, including lost funds from property taxes and hospitality and accommodations revenue. Improving infrastructure, including water, sewer and broadband are also allowed.

Funds may not be used to cut taxes.

Blythewood is slated to receive half its allocation within the next 60 days and another half within a year.

The money will be administered by the State of South Carolina. Neither the town’s administrator nor the mayor have received official word from the federal government about the town’s payout, but the total cited is an estimate provided by the Municipal and County Associations.

Funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2024.

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