Minnesota communities get more time to claim federal aid

Published 6:43 pm Monday, October 4, 2021

ST. PAUL — Minnesota on Monday gave local governments a little more time to claim federal COVID-19 relief money to which they’re already entitled.

Eligible cities and townships now have through Oct. 11 to apply for American Rescue Plan aid to help their communities respond to the pandemic, Minnesota Management and Budget announced. The deadline had been Monday.

“These ARP funds are a huge opportunity for local governments to address inequities and negative economic impacts in their communities and improve access to water and broadband infrastructure,” MMB Commissioner Jim Schowalter said in a statement.

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Minnesota cities, counties, and townships were eligible for an estimated $2.1 billion altogether. Most of it has been distributed, but a sizable pot remained on the table as of Monday. MMB said 113 eligible cities and 568 eligible townships had not yet requested their shares of $18 million in federal funds.

An Associated Press review found that local governments across the country have been taking their time before spending their federal aid windfall. As of this summer, a majority of large cities and states hadn’t spent a penny from the American Rescue Plan. States had spent just 2.5% of their initial allotment while large cities spent 8.5%, according to the AP analysis. Many state and local governments reported they were still working on plans for their share.