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Take a breath and start planning: Alabama cities, counties to receive millions in federal aid

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Alabama’s counties and municipalities will soon receive millions of dollars — some tens of millions of dollars — under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act approved last week. 

While exact guidance and rules for spending haven’t yet been issued from the U.S. Department of Treasury, the act makes clear the money can be used beyond costs specific to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re telling them to take a breath and to begin thinking about how to best use this opportunity for legacy type programs,” Greg Cochran, executive director of the Alabama League of Municipalities, told Alabama Daily News about the group’s guidance to cities and towns.

The act includes nearly $360 billion to help states, counties and cities. Alabama is getting $4.04 billion of that. About $951 million will go to counties and $779 million to municipalities.

Large City Allocation Projections

NameAllocation in millions

According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, local governments can use the new money:

  • Address the pandemic’s economic effects, including aid to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality;
  • Provide premium pay to essential employees or grants to their employers;
  • Provide government services affected by a revenue reduction resulting from COVID-19, and;
  • Make investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

There are things the new money can’t be used for, including funding pensions or to offset revenue resulting from a tax cut enacted since March 3. 

Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, said his organization is working to help counties plan to spend and account for the dollars. 

There are also conversations happening about some possible constitutional issues regarding the federal dollars, Brasfield said.

While the act does say the money allocated to local governments can be distributed to households and businesses, that is raising an issue here.

“In Alabama, the constitution won’t let us do that,” Brasfield said.

Section 94 of Alabama’s constitution says “the Legislature shall not have power to authorize any county, city, town, or other subdivision of this state to lend its credit, or to grant public money or thing of value in aid of, or to any individual, association. . ..”

In April of last year, the Alabama Attorney General cited Section 94 in an opinion that said counties and municipalities could not give grants or loans to small businesses hurt by the pandemic unless they money would “serve a public purpose rather than merely confer a private benefit.”

There are conversations happening now in Montgomery about exactly what that means for the federal relief money.

“Counties can’t just give money to people, so that’s going to require some more strategic thinking,” Brasfield said. “How do we use this money in a way that can change the county going forward?

“… I think the same goals can be reached — restoring and revising the community — we’re just going to have to be strategic about it.”  

County Allocation Projections

NameAllocation in millions
Autauga County10.84
Baldwin County43.29
Barbour County4.79
Bibb County4.34
Blount County11.21
Bullock County1.96
Butler County3.77
Calhoun County22.03
Chambers County6.45
Cherokee County5.08
Chilton County8.62
Choctaw County2.44
Clarke County4.58
Clay County2.57
Cleburne County2.89
Coffee County10.15
Colbert County10.71
Conecuh County2.34
Coosa County2.07
Covington County7.19
Crenshaw County2.67
Cullman County16.25
Dale County9.54
Dallas County7.21
DeKalb County13.87
Elmore County15.75
Escambia County7.10
Etowah County19.83
Fayette County3.16
Franklin County6.08
Geneva County5.10
Greene County1.57
Hale County2.84
Henry County3.34
Houston County20.54
Jackson County10.01
Jefferson County127.73
Lamar County2.68
Lauderdale County17.98
Lawrence County6.39
Lee County31.91
Limestone County19.18
Lowndes County1.89
Macon County3.50
Madison County72.32
Marengo County3.66
Marion County5.76
Marshall County18.77
Mobile County80.14
Monroe County4.02
Montgomery County43.93
Morgan County23.21
Perry County1.73
Pickens County3.87
Pike County6.42
Randolph County4.41
Russell County11.24
St. Clair County17.36
Shelby County42.22
Sumter County2.41
Talladega County15.51
Tallapoosa County7.83
Tuscaloosa County40.60
Walker County12.32
Washington County3.17
Wilcox County2.01
Winston County4.58

In an email to members, the league said municipalities with more than 50,000 population will receive funds through the U.S. Treasury. Those under 50,000 will receive funds through the Alabama Department of Finance.

The league said 50% of a municipalities’ money should arrive within 60 days. The rest will come one year later, at the earliest. This will give communities time to plan, Cochran said.

Money must be spent by the end of 2024.

Cochran said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for communities, especially rural ones, to make significant infrastructure upgrades.

Cochran noted that the act separately provides millions of dollars to education institutions, restaurants, entertainment venues, agriculture and rural health care outside of the $4.04 billion coming to Alabama governments.

Small City Allocation Projections

NameAllocation in millions
Abbeville city0.47
Adamsville city0.79
Addison town0.13
Akron town0.06
Alabaster city6.21
Albertville city4.02
Alexander City city2.65
Aliceville city0.42
Allgood town0.12
Altoona town0.17
Andalusia city1.61
Anderson town0.05
Arab city1.55
Ardmore town0.27
Argo town0.81
Ariton town0.14
Arley town0.06
Ashford town0.40
Ashland town0.35
Ashville city0.44
Athens city5.07
Atmore city1.69
Attalla city1.07
Autaugaville town0.16
Avon town0.09
Babbie town0.11
Baileyton town0.11
Bakerhill town0.05
Banks town0.03
Bay Minette city1.73
Bayou La Batre city0.46
Bear Creek town0.20
Beatrice town0.05
Beaverton town0.03
Belk town0.04
Benton town0.01
Berlin town0.09
Berry town0.20
Billingsley town0.03
Black town0.04
Blountsville town0.31
Blue Springs town0.02
Boaz city1.80
Boligee town0.05
Bon Air town0.02
Brantley town0.14
Brent city0.88
Brewton city0.97
Bridgeport city0.43
Brighton city0.51
Brilliant town0.16
Brookside town0.25
Brookwood town0.34
Brundidge city0.35
Butler town0.32
Calera city2.73
Camden city0.33
Camp Hill town0.18
Carbon Hill city0.35
Cardiff town0.01
Carolina town0.05
Carrollton town0.17
Castleberry town0.10
Cedar Bluff town0.34
Center Point city2.99
Centre city0.66
Centreville city0.48
Chatom town0.22
Chelsea city2.62
Cherokee town0.19
Chickasaw city1.06
Childersburg city0.90
Citronelle city0.72
Clanton city1.63
Clay city1.84
Clayhatchee town0.11
Clayton town0.53
Cleveland town0.24
Clio city0.24
Coaling town0.31
Coffee Springs town0.04
Coffeeville town0.06
Coker town0.18
Collinsville town0.37
Colony town0.05
Columbia town0.14
Columbiana city0.84
Coosada town0.24
Cordova city0.34
Cottonwood town0.23
County Line town0.05
Courtland town0.11
Cowarts town0.39
Creola city0.38
Crossville town0.34
Cuba town0.05
Cullman city2.97
Cusseta town0.02
Dadeville city0.57
Daleville city0.95
Daphne city4.98
Dauphin Island town0.25
Daviston town0.04
Dayton town0.01
Deatsville town0.23
Demopolis city1.23
Detroit town0.04
Dodge City town0.12
Dora city0.35
Double Springs town0.20
Douglas town0.14
Dozier town0.06
Dutton town0.06
East Brewton city0.44
Eclectic town0.19
Edwardsville town0.04
Elba city0.71
Elberta town0.32
Eldridge town0.02
Elkmont town0.09
Elmore town0.25
Emelle town0.01
Enterprise city5.26
Epes town0.06
Ethelsville town0.01
Eufaula city2.17
Eutaw town0.48
Eva town0.09
Evergreen city0.65
Excel town0.12
Fairfield city1.96
Fairhope city4.20
Fairview town0.09
Falkville town0.23
Faunsdale town0.02
Fayette city0.79
Five Points town0.03
Flomaton town0.26
Florala town0.35
Foley city3.78
Forkland town0.11
Fort Deposit town0.21
Fort Payne city2.61
Franklin town0.09
Frisco City town0.21
Fruithurst town0.05
Fulton town0.05
Fultondale city1.72
Fyffe town0.19
Gainesville town0.03
Gantt town0.04
Garden City town0.09
Gardendale city2.63
Gaylesville town0.03
Geiger town0.03
Geneva city0.80
Georgiana town0.30
Geraldine town0.17
Gilbertown town0.04
Glen Allen town0.09
Glencoe city0.94
Glenwood town0.03
Goldville town0.01
Good Hope city0.44
Goodwater town0.24
Gordo town0.30
Gordon town0.06
Gordonville town0.05
Goshen town0.05
Grant town0.17
Graysville city0.39
Greensboro city0.42
Greenville city1.37
Grimes town0.10
Grove Hill town0.32
Gu-Win town0.03
Guin city0.42
Gulf Shores city2.36
Guntersville city1.59
Gurley town0.15
Hackleburg town0.23
Haleburg town0.02
Haleyville city0.77
Hamilton city1.22
Hammondville town0.09
Hanceville city0.64
Harpersville town0.32
Hartford city0.48
Hartselle city2.68
Hayden town0.25
Hayneville town0.15
Headland city0.87
Heath town0.05
Heflin city0.63
Helena city3.69
Henagar city0.44
Highland Lake town0.08
Hillsboro town0.10
Hobson City town0.14
Hodges town0.05
Hokes Bluff city0.79
Holly Pond town0.15
Hollywood town0.18
Homewood city4.70
Hoover city15.90
Horn Hill town0.04
Hueytown city2.84
Hurtsboro town0.11
Hytop town0.08
Ider town0.13
Indian Springs Village city0.47
Irondale city2.39
Jackson city0.86
Jacksons' Gap town0.15
Jacksonville city2.33
Jasper city2.49
Jemison city0.50
Kansas town0.04
Kellyton town0.04
Kennedy town0.08
Killen town0.18
Kimberly city0.67
Kinsey town0.42
Kinston town0.10
La Fayette city0.54
Lake View town0.50
Lakeview town0.03
Lanett city1.14
Langston town0.05
Leeds city2.23
Leesburg town0.19
Leighton town0.14
Lester town0.02
Level Plains town0.37
Lexington town0.13
Libertyville town0.02
Lincoln city1.26
Linden city0.35
Lineville city0.42
Lipscomb city0.40
Lisman town0.09
Littleville town0.18
Livingston city0.60
Loachapoka town0.04
Lockhart town0.09
Locust Fork town0.22
Louisville town0.09
Lowndesboro town0.02
Loxley town0.57
Luverne city0.51
Lynn town0.12
Madison city9.56
Madrid town0.05
Magnolia Springs town0.15
Malvern town0.27
Maplesville town0.13
Margaret town0.95
Marion city0.58
Maytown town0.07
McIntosh town0.04
McKenzie town0.09
McMullen town0.00
Memphis town0.00
Mentone town0.07
Midfield city0.93
Midland City town0.44
Midway town0.09
Millbrook city2.95
Millport town0.18
Millry town0.09
Monroeville city1.06
Montevallo city1.25
Montgomery city36.80
Moody city2.42
Mooresville town0.01
Morris town0.40
Mosses town0.16
Moulton city0.60
Moundville town0.46
Mount Vernon town0.28
Mountain Brook city3.76
Mulga town0.15
Munford town0.25
Muscle Shoals city2.70
Myrtlewood town0.02
Napier Field town0.06
Natural Bridge town0.01
Nauvoo town0.04
Nectar town0.06
Needham town0.02
New Brockton town0.23
New Hope city0.54
New Site town0.14
Newbern town0.03
Newton town0.27
Newville town0.09
North Courtland town0.11
North Johns town0.03
Northport city4.84
Notasulga town0.15
Oak Grove town0.10
Oak Hill town0.00
Oakman town0.13
Odenville town0.72
Ohatchee town0.21
Oneonta city1.22
Onycha town0.03
Opp city1.18
Orange Beach city1.16
Orrville town0.03
Owens Cross Roads town0.39
Oxford city3.93
Ozark city2.65
Paint Rock town0.04
Parrish town0.17
Pelham city4.43
Pell City city2.60
Pennington town0.04
Perdido Beach town0.12
Petrey town0.01
Phenix City city6.76
Phil Campbell town0.20
Pickensville town0.11
Piedmont city0.84
Pike Road town1.88
Pinckard town0.12
Pine Apple town0.02
Pine Hill town0.16
Pine Ridge town0.05
Pinson city1.32
Pisgah town0.13
Pleasant Grove city1.78
Pleasant Groves town0.07
Pollard town0.03
Powell town0.18
Prattville city6.67
Priceville town0.70
Prichard city3.97
Providence town0.04
Ragland town0.32
Rainbow City city1.78
Rainsville city0.95
Ranburne town0.07
Red Bay city0.57
Red Level town0.09
Reece City town0.12
Reform town0.29
Rehobeth town0.31
Repton town0.05
Ridgeville town0.02
River Falls town0.10
Riverside city0.44
Riverview town0.03
Roanoke city1.10
Robertsdale city1.26
Rockford town0.08
Rogersville town0.23
Rosa town0.06
Russellville city1.81
Rutledge town0.08
Samson city0.34
Sand Rock town0.11
Sanford town0.05
Saraland city2.72
Sardis City town0.33
Satsuma city1.15
Scottsboro city2.68
Section town0.14
Selma city3.19
Semmes city1.04
Sheffield city1.65
Shiloh town0.05
Shorter town0.07
Silas town0.08
Silverhill town0.22
Sipsey town0.07
Skyline town0.16
Slocomb city0.35
Smiths Station city1.00
Snead town0.16
Somerville town0.14
South Vinemont town0.14
Southside city1.65
Spanish Fort city1.71
Springville city0.80
St. Florian town0.12
Steele town0.20
Stevenson city0.36
Sulligent city0.34
Sumiton city0.43
Summerdale town0.31
Susan Moore town0.14
Sweet Water town0.05
Sylacauga city2.23
Sylvan Springs town0.28
Sylvania town0.35
Talladega Springs town0.03
Talladega city2.87
Tallassee city0.83
Tarrant city1.13
Taylor town0.45
Thomaston town0.07
Thomasville city0.71
Thorsby town0.38
Town Creek town0.19
Toxey town0.02
Trafford town0.11
Triana town0.18
Trinity town0.46
Troy city3.51
Trussville city4.20
Tuscumbia city1.57
Tuskegee city1.51
Twin town0.07
Union Grove town0.01
Union Springs city0.63
Union town0.04
Uniontown town0.41
Valley Grande city0.66
Valley Head town0.10
Valley city1.69
Vance town0.31
Vernon city0.34
Vestavia Hills city6.38
Vina town0.07
Vincent town0.41
Vredenburgh town0.05
Wadley town0.13
Waldo town0.05
Walnut Grove town0.13
Warrior city0.60
Waterloo town0.04
Waverly town0.03
Weaver city0.57
Webb town0.27
Wedowee town0.15
West Blocton town0.23
West Jefferson town0.08
West Point town0.11
Westover town0.32
Wetumpka city1.55
White Hall town0.14
Wilsonville town0.38
Wilton town0.13
Winfield city0.84
Woodland town0.03
Woodstock town0.30
Woodville town0.13
Yellow Bluff town0.04
York City0.42

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