To the Editor:
There is great news for Palo Alto and all of Iowa's counties. During these tough times, governors and local leaders have made bipartisan requests for federal assistance. High unemployment due to the pandemic caused a decline in income tax revenues and reduced economic activity lowered sales tax revenues. Now, help is on the way. The State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation, a part of the American Rescue Plan Act, was signed into law by President Biden on March 11.
It is estimated by the National Association of Counties that Palo Alto will receive $1.7 million. The U.S. Treasury will oversee payments, which are based on population, and every county is eligible. The Treasury will pay the first portion in May, and the second payment not sooner than 12 months after that.
Allowable uses for the funds include, but are not limited to:
• Responding to the health emergency caused by COVID-19 and its impacts on local economics.
• Restoring government services that were reduced due to lost revenues.
• Making necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
At the March "Eggs and Issues" forum in Spencer the District #1 legislators responded to questions from the audience about this funding. They reported other specific uses for the money might include fixing bridges, roads, parks and trails. In a recent U.S. Newsweek rating, Iowa was ranked #1 for opportunity and the lawmakers explained that developing and maintaining infrastructure and recreational areas would enhance Iowans' quality of life.
We have a lot to be proud of and look forward to as our county, state, and nation rebound from the pandemic.
(signed) Julie B. Zaugg
West Bend resident