Montgomery County to get nearly $204 million in COVID relief

In a Monday virtual news conference, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen announced Montgomery County is slated to receive nearly $204 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker also said municipalities will get around $100 million. This includes areas like the City of Rockville, the City of Gaithersburg, the City of Takoma Park and so forth.

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Van Hollen told reporters the county’s around $204 million is on top of the school funding the county is already slated to receive.

The nearly $204 million will come in two waives. The first half is expected in around 90 days according to Senator Van Hollen, who also said the county would have to provide an accounting for where the money was spent in order to receive the second half next year.

When asked about transparency and whether it would be up to the states or counties to share where the money is going, Van Hollen answered FOX 5 by reminding reporters that the Biden Administration plans to have executive oversight over the American Rescue Plan. That was after referencing CARES Act.

"First of all, the original CARES Act established an oversight commission for the pandemic response. And that commission will also resume responsibility for tracing funds provided under the most recent American Rescue Plan," said the Senator.

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FOX 5 did reach out to the County Executive’s Office to see whether American Rescue Plan Act spending information would available through an online dashboard.

The County Council will be taking-up Marc Elrich’s proposed budget over the next few weeks, which is supposed to also consider federal assistance.

Hucker mentioned areas where funding could go, like childcare, mental health funding and the Department of Health and Human resources – not exact details just yet.

The Council President did say a lot of the county funding will go toward costs FEMA has not reimbursed the county for yet (last month FEMA announced it will be picking up 100% of the COVID response costs).

A county spokesperson sent FOX 5 a budget sheet (see below) that shows since September, Montgomery County appears to have documented over $120 billion since last September in police and fire, non-union, transportation and health and human services personnel costs, as well as PPE costs, to submit for reimbursement.

At the March 15th virtual meeting on County Executive Marc Elrich’s FY22 budget proposal, it was discussed that FEMA has already reimbursed $31.8 million to Montgomery County. The county’s Office of Budget and Management is assuming another $74-to-$75 million in FEMA reimbursements.