ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today launched a community engagement plan, including a community survey, seeking feedback from residents and businesses on how to utilize American Rescue Plan (ARP) federal funding. Howard County was allocated $63.2 million in federal ARP funding, the first half of which will be available for use this fiscal year. Ball also shared early initiatives that will be funded by ARP, including hazard pay, body-worn cameras, and foreclosure prevention. Photos from the event can be found here.
The repercussions of this pandemic are significant, and through the federal American Rescue Plan funding, we will continue to address immediate and long-term challenges. This funding provides an immense opportunity for Howard County – and it’s more important than ever that our residents and businesses have the chance to be actively engaged in the process. Through this extensive community engagement plan, and from our extensive HoCo RISE Report, we are confident the use of American Rescue Plan will set Howard County on a path to emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.
In addition to the community survey, Ball announced the following community engagement efforts:
- A public ARP virtual hearing scheduled for September 29, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
- Several stakeholder engagement meetings being scheduled throughout the month of October
- And a presentation to the Howard County Council on November 3, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.
Since late June, the County has been actively engaged in assessing evolving federal eligibility guidelines and developing proposals for spending American Rescue Plan funding, with over 200 proposals currently being evaluated at a value of nearly $200 million. The community survey is part of the County’s efforts to engage the community on the highest and best uses of available funding.
“I want to applaud the County Executive and the administration for taking a very thoughtful approach to this important investment coming from the federal government,” said former County Executive and HoCo RISE Collaborative Chair Ken Ulman. “We all know that Howard County, especially coming out of this pandemic will have significant needs, and there are a lot of competing pressures on those needs, so it’s more important than ever to have community engagement and thoughtful approach to how we invest these funds. Thank you to the County Executive and his team for the foresight to create the HoCo Rise Collaborative about a year ago, to really think through the challenges brought to the forefront and how we can solve them equitably and inclusively.”
American Rescue Plan funding has already been allocated to the following early initiatives:
- $5 million in hazard pay for County employees who could not work their full-time jobs remotely and had to be onsite during the height of the pandemic.
- $1.6 million to support the implementation of the body-worn camera program.
- $2 million to assist struggling homeowners and prevent foreclosures in Howard County.
“This announcement of $2M in American Rescue Plan funding for foreclosure prevention demonstrates the Administration’s continued commitment to provide resources to keep people in their homes,” said Director of Housing and Community Development Kelly Cimino. “We encourage homeowners that have fallen behind on their mortgage payments to visit the housing department’s COVID-19 webpage and complete an application today.”
Initial Recovery Plan
Earlier this month, the County submitted its initial Recovery Plan – which outlined a path forward for continued response and recovery from the pandemic. The plan includes early initiatives for the use of funding such as:
- Providing services to disproportionately impacted communities,
- Addressing the negative economic impacts of the pandemic experienced by our residents and businesses,
- Supporting our front-line workers who have put themselves at risk, and
- Improving County infrastructure gaps highlighted by the pandemic.
More details about the American Rescue Plan, the community engagement plan, and initial Recovery Plan can be found online at www.howardcountymd.gov/arp.
The vision laid out in the initial Recovery Plan submission builds on the recommendations laid out in the HoCo RISE Collaborative Report, which outlined a path forward for continued response and recovery from the pandemic this past March. Launched in November 2020, the 50-member HoCo RISE Collaborative provided guidance on the County’s public health response, government response, jobs and the economy, education and workforce and family opportunities.
The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, with the intent of providing support to State, local, and Tribal governments in responding to the impact of COVID-19 and containing COVID-19 within their communities, residents, and businesses. On June 21, 2021, the County Council unanimously approved an emergency appropriation accepting the first half ($31.6 million) of the County’s $63.2 million American Rescue Plan allocation.