The three local governments in the Fairbanks area are expecting almost $30 million — maybe more — from the latest federal coronavirus relief bill signed into law last month.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough is anticipating receiving $18-20 million, while the city of Fairbanks is anticipating receiving $6.41 million.
It’s not yet clear how much will be allocated to the city of North Pole, which requested $8.7 million, mostly to improve the municipal water system, according to Mayor Mike Welch.
Officials at the city of Fairbanks and the borough said they are waiting on guidance from the U.S. treasury department before deciding how their allocations will be used.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed by President Joe Biden on March 11, provides $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial and tribal governments faced with an increase in demand for services along with declining revenues due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. treasury department.
The state of Alaska is anticipated to receive more than $1 billion, while local governments in Alaska are receiving an estimated $140 million.
They are not expecting the money to come all at once but in payments over time.
A description of the American Rescue Plan on the treasury department website reads that state and local governments can use the money for public health initiatives, to replace lost revenues, to support economic recovery and to improve infrastructure, including water, sewer and broadband services.
“The Rescue Plan will provide needed relief to state, local and tribal governments to enable them to continue to support the public health response and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable economic recovery,” reads a statement on the treasury department website.
“In addition to helping these governments address the revenue losses they have experienced as a result of the crisis, it will help them cover the costs incurred due to responding to the public health emergency and provide support for a recovery — including through assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, aid to impacted industries and support for essential workers.”
The allocation that the borough is anticipated to receive equals about 10% of the borough’s annual budget. Borough leaders are working on a new spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The plan does not take into account the money from the American Rescue Plan.
The city of Fairbanks’ expected allocation represents about 15% of its annual budget.
The school district is expecting to receive an influx of $9.7 million in one-time federal Covid-19 relief money, which is being used to save 78 jobs including teachers, special education aides, custodians, instrumental music instructors, high school activities coordinators and building maintenance workers. The jobs were proposed to be cut to offset a revenue decline due to a large decrease in enrollment.
Under last year’s coronavirus relief package, more than $44 million in federal funding flowed to the cities of Fairbanks, North Pole and the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Most of that money was paid out to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, businesses, nonprofits and families that suffered losses in connection with Covid-19.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMborough.