Fulton sketches spending more than $200M of federal COVID relief money

The Fulton County Government Center was sporadically bustling in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, June 29, 2020. (REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)
The Fulton County Government Center was sporadically bustling in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, June 29, 2020. (REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA J

Credit: REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA J

Fulton County leaders have a rough plan for how they want to use the federal COVID-19 stimulus money.

With local tax dollars plus all the federal funds, Fulton’s executives said Wednesday they have about $285 million at their disposal.

The breakdown is $125 million for operational stability, which includes pandemic-proofing buildings, IT improvements and personal protective equipment for staff; $100 million for community needs such as housing assistance, addressing food insecurity and job training; and $60 million for health responses like COVID testing and administering vaccines.

Government officials across the metro region learned late last week that they were set to receive a combined $916 million from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was approved by Congress to give an economic boost to cities, counties, schools and groups fighting effects of the coronavirus.

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Fulton is slated to receive more than any locality in Georgia at $206 million — basically double what Washington allotted last year in the CARES Act.

But other funds are flowing to Fulton, like $18 million in rental/utility assistance, in addition to the county’s own $45.7 million budgeted for responding to COVID-19 the first half of the year.

A measure successfully sponsored Wednesday by Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman, a Democrat, had Fulton accept the $206 million. She hopes some of the money will be used to keep mortgage-payers in their homes and to offer summer jobs for teens.

Commissioner Lee Morris said he wouldn’t vote for the measure because he wasn’t ready to prioritize the money. The other two Republican commissioners also did not vote either way.

Though they have the contours of how to spend the money once it comes in, there are still many specifics to figure out.

“We need to be working on it now, we don’t need to wait until the money gets here,” Abdur-Rahman said.

Consumer adviser Clark Howard breaks down what you should know about money being handed out.

Watch discussion here:


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