By WECT Staff | April 5, 2021 at 7:49 PM EDT – Updated April 6 at 12:27 AM
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved a framework for how the $45 million investment expected from the American Rescue Plan will be spent at a meeting Monday night.
“It sounds like an enormous amount of money,” Commissioner Rob Zapple said. “When we started to look down and see what the needs are, especially coming out of covid and coming off the heels of three hurricanes in a row in the last three years, believe me there is a huge need out there.”
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11; the funds are to be used by local governments to help strengthen communities weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“New Hanover County has an important responsibility to care for our most vulnerable residents and assist our community as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic, to be even more resilient and healthier than before,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson Boseman. “This funding will allow us to do that by assisting and investing in our residents, businesses and nonprofits who have been struggling, providing internet access to children and families, funding critical infrastructure like water and sewer to help create more affordable housing, establishing mental health assistance for children and seniors, and much more. I am proud that New Hanover County is forward-thinking in its planning and is focused on how we can best serve our entire community.”
The spending plan is broken down into eight segments: Broadband connectivity, business and employment assistance, mortgage assistance, physical and mental health resources, infrastructure and emergency management improvements, revenue replacements, bonuses for county employees, and reserve funding. The lion’s share of the funds are being directed toward infrastructure improvements.
New Hanover County expects to receive almost half of the $45 million by mid-May and hopes to begin rolling out programs funded by the plan by July 2021.
The county will appoint administrators to manage the funding initiatives and intends to incorporate additional community partners and organizations to assist. Details of these plans will be available soon.
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