With some municipalities nationwide learning late last month that their share of the federal government’s latest stimulus package tied to the COVID-19 pandemic has decreased by varying amounts due to discrepancies in calculations between Congress and the U.S. Treasury, Fulton County’s cities are among those disappointed.
The American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March, when the estimates for some cities, as calculated by Congress, were higher. But in late May the cities were informed that they would receive a different amount based on the Treasury’s math, with most getting less than originally anticipated and some receiving more.
“We were one of the cities that was slated to receive approximately $31 million-plus and in the final analysis, we’ll be receiving a little over $11 million. … So we’ve had to readjust some things considerably,” said South Fulton Mayor William “Bill” Edwards, whose city of about 97,000 residents had the highest original amount of funds allocated to it except for Atlanta ($178 million).
Edwards was one of several mayors who spoke on the topic at the Fulton Board of Commissioners’ June 4 monthly mayors meeting, which was held virtually due to the pandemic. At the meeting board Chair Robb Pitts asked the mayors in attendance how they planned to spend those funds so there was no duplication of programs the county is proposing for its share of the package, $206 million.
Fairburn Mayor Elizabeth Carr-Hurst, whose city is supposed to get $6.3 million, slightly more than the $5.3 million it was originally going to get, blamed politics on the issue, adding she’s not sure if her city will get all of the funds it was promised in the latest estimate.
Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said Congress decided to designate some cities as “metropolitan cities,” which was “an unintended mistake” and caused the funding changes.
“If I just use Milton, a city about a third of our size,” he said, “they’re receiving $14 million and compare that to Johns Creek, which is a city of almost 90,000 citizens receiving only $7 million, I think it is unconscionable that the situation exists where you have a city three times the size of another city with barely the resources able to help the citizens and businesses.
“I hope we’ll be able to help work together to urge the senators and representatives from Georgia to do everything they can to get the law corrected and ensure some equitable distribution of these funds.”
COVID-19 funds for Fulton cities
Editor’s note: The following is a list of Fulton County’s 15 cities and the American Rescue Plan Act funds they were originally receiving, based on Congress’ calculations, and the monies they will actually get, based on the U.S. Treasury’s math.
♦ Alpharetta: $21.2M to $6.6M
♦ Atlanta: $178M to $170.9M
♦ Chattahoochee Hills: $1M to $1.2M
♦ College Park: $4.8M to $5.7M
♦ East Point: $11M to $13M
♦ Fairburn: $5.3M to $6.3M
♦ Hapeville: $2.1M to $2.4M
♦ Johns Creek: $26.7M to $7M
♦ Milton: $12.5M to $14.8M
♦ Mountain Park: $178,957 to $212,112
♦ Palmetto: $1.5M to $1.8M
♦ Roswell: $12.6M to $11.4M
♦ Sandy Springs: $16.3M to $13.9M
♦ South Fulton: $31.2M to $11.3M
♦ Union City: $7M to $8.4M