Jun 10, 2021 - News

How the Twin Cities metro plans to spend federal COVID relief

Illustration of a hundred-dollar bill breaking into smaller hundred-dollar bills.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Local governments in Minnesota are figuring out how they plan to spend $2.1 billion of federal coronavirus relief that's being allocated to the state, counties and municipalities.

Why it matters: Officials in the Twin Cities metro want to put the money toward things that affect our communities, such as affordable housing, homeless outreach, public safety, economic development and broadband infrastructure.

Catch up quick: The U.S. Treasury last month decided how much of the $1.9 trillion in American Rescue Plan funding states, counties and local governments would receive.

  • The Treasury set up a long list of guidelines over how the funds can be spent, and using it to replenish reserves isn't allowed.

The state of play: Minneapolis, the biggest recipient, is debating this week how to spend $271 million.

  • Mayor Jacob Frey's $89 million plan for the first round of funding includes $37 million for economic rebuilding, $28 million for housing/homelessness, and $11.5 million for public safety.
  • It includes a $3 million guaranteed basic income pilot, which would provide 200 families with $500 per month over the span of two years.

St. Paul is getting $167 million, and the city is planning to discuss budgets for its departments through July.

  • Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher presented a plan earlier this month for some immediate needs, including $975,000 for additional police patrols and 14 new positions to combat homelessness. The new roles would cost the city $1.7 million per year.

Edina is getting $6.7 million and City Manager Scott Neal is presenting his recommendations to the City Council for discussion next week.

  • Neal said the money will be focused on broadband infrastructure improvements.

Duluth, which is getting $58 million, is considering broadband investments, affordable housing, and childcare development, according to CBS 3.

Ramsey County told the Pioneer Press it will likely will use its $107 million to boost efforts to address the affordable housing shortages.

Of note: Another $377 million is flowing into Minnesota municipalities with fewer than 50,000 people.

Go deeper: Check out these lists for the breakdown of how much cities and counties are getting.


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