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Albemarle Co. and Charlottesville discuss plans for American Rescue Plan funds

Albemarle County and Charlottesville will be receiving some government cash to offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Updated: Mar. 15, 2021 at 5:36 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Included with direct stimulus payments and extended unemployment benefits, state and local governments will be getting some relief as well as a result of the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Albemarle County and Charlottesville will be receiving some government cash to offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The is anticipating just over $10 million as a result of the bill. City Director of Finance Chris Cullinan says that the funds will be key to help Charlottesville continue supporting residents hurting right now, as well as filling the budget gaps caused by declining revenue.

“We’re already running $9-10 million behind in the current year,” Cullinan said. “So, there’s certainly that possibility as well, but then we’re also cognizant of the fact that COVID continues to impact our community in a variety of ways.”

Charlottesville’s current budget does not include any projected relief funds. How it will be spent is to be determined: city employees are waiting on more information from the government about how much is headed their way, and what restrictions will be placed on it use.

In Albemarle County, the FY22 budget also was built without federal aid in mind. The county is expecting around $21 million from ARP, which will be discussed and allocated as officials continues to develop the budget. County Supervisor Donna Price says she’d like to see the funds used, at least partially, to boost broadband expansion efforts.

“I am very optimistic that this additional funding will allow us to do even more than the $3 million we had already budgeted to increase our broadband capacity in this coming fiscal year, but every decision is hard,” Price said. “There’s not a single one that’s an easy decision.”

The city continues to develop the budget at its March 15 meeting. The county met March 15 for a second budget work session, and will continue its planning process over the coming weeks.

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