Chattanooga area governments will receive millions in COVID-19 relief funds

Staff photo by Doug Strickland / The Chattanooga Municipal Building and Chattanooga City Hall
Staff photo by Doug Strickland / The Chattanooga Municipal Building and Chattanooga City Hall

The Chattanooga region will receive over $270 million in Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from the federal government to aid in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House announced the allocation of $350 billion for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments under the American Rescue Plan Act on Monday, which includes millions to be spent locally.

"Today is a milestone in our country's recovery from the pandemic and its adjacent economic crisis. With this funding, communities hit hard by COVID-19 will [be] able to return to a semblance of normalcy; they'll be able to rehire teachers, firefighters and other essential workers – and to help small businesses reopen safely," Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen said in a release.

"There are no benefits to enduring two historic economic crises in a 13-year span, except for one: We can improve our policymaking. During the Great Recession, when cities and states were facing similar revenue shortfalls, the federal government didn't provide enough aid to close the gap. That was an error. Insufficient relief meant that cities had to slash spending and that austerity undermined the broader recovery. With today's announcement, we are charting a very different – and much faster – course back to prosperity."

Some funds will go to city governments, such as Nashville ($125 million), Memphis ($161.1 million) and Knoxville ($42.5 million).

Other funds will go to counties. Locally, Hamilton County will receive $71.4 million, and Chattanooga will receive an additional $38.6 million.

Chattanooga and the surrounding region will get more than $270 million, with $23.9 million going to two nearby counties in Northwest Alabama, $64 million going to seven nearby counties in Northwest Georgia and $148.1 million going to 12 surrounding Tennessee counties.

Local governments can use the funds to provide relief through various health, infrastructure and economic investments - not just direct COVID-19 response.

According to the White House, funds can be used to:

* Support public health expenditures, by – among other uses – funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral health care, mental health and substance misuse treatment and certain public health and safety personnel responding to the crisis;

* Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including by rehiring public sector workers, providing aid to households facing food, housing or other financial insecurity, offering small business assistance and extending support for industries hardest hit by the crisis

* Aid the communities and populations hardest hit by the crisis, supporting an equitable recovery by addressing not only the immediate harms of the pandemic but its exacerbation of longstanding public health, economic and educational disparities

* Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have borne and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service during the pandemic; and,

* Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, improving access to clean drinking water, supporting vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and expanding access to broadband internet.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.

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