Ohio Congressional Democrats Fight to Provide Maximum Relief for Townships
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) recently joined with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), and U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) in pressing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to ensure townships in Ohio and across the country are eligible for direct relief through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), P.L. 117-2.
Under the law, passed by House and Senate Democrats and signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, Secretary Yellen has the discretion to determine the extent to which townships and other non-entitlement units of government are eligible for direct assistance. This discretion has led to some confusion and concern among local towns and townships about their eligibility for direct support.
“After a long, trying year, it is critical we provide this urgent relief to our local governments who are on the front lines serving our communities each and every day,” the congressional quartet wrote. “As you begin issuing guidance and implementing ARP, we urge you to ensure towns and townships across the country are made eligible for direct relief to the fullest extent possible.”
In Ohio, state law authorizes townships to operate under a basic form of government and to perform a wide variety of functions such as road maintenance, police and fire protection, emergency medical services, solid waste disposal, zoning, cemetery management, and much more. All total, the 1,308 townships in Ohio are directly responsible for maintaining 41,000 miles of roads and streets as well as managing more than 2,400 cemeteries.
ARP includes $362 billion for the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to ensure first responders, frontline health workers, teachers, and other providers of vital services remain safely on the job as states, local governments, and territories continue to roll out vaccines and rebuild their local economies. Under the law, use of the funding is flexible and the timeframe extends through 2024.