Athens City Hall is seen in Athens, Ohio, on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. [Joseph Scheller | WOUB]
Athens City Hall is seen in Athens, Ohio, on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. [Joseph Scheller | WOUB]

Some Ohio Cities To Receive Less Stimulus Money Than Originally Planned

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB)- Some cities in Ohio have scrapped their initial plans to spend their share of funds from the American Rescue Plan after a new law cut that money.

House Bill 168 signed into law by Governor Dewine on Tuesday determined how the federal dollars will be distributed throughout the state.

A late amendment to the legislation included townships as a part of local governments and entitles them to some of the money 

Non-entitlement cities, or cities with a population less than 50,000 now lose some of their initially promised stimulus to fund the townships’ share..

Officials in these cities are crying foul and said they believe the money should have been taken from somewhere else.

“There were other ways that this could’ve been done as opposed to riding on the allocation of money for cities under 50,000,” Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said. “It’s not a fair or equitable way to do things.”

 Southeast Ohio cities were dealt a major blow by this change. Every city but Marietta will have their allocation cut.

The city of Athens, for example, was supposed to receive $4.8 million. That shrunk to $2.5 million after the bill was signed. 

These cities are back to the drawing board to develop new plans on how to spend less money.

“Nothing has been done except roundtable conversations with my staff, but we had a number of things we were planning for,” Patterson said. “We’ve had to significantly rethink what we actually can fund now.”

One of Athens’ initial planned projects was to create a shared workspace in the Athens Armory. Now city officials are reconsidering how to do more with less.

The CARES Act also provided funding to townships after it passed in December, and some of the money was not spent in full. 

Under this act unspent money does not get redistributed to other communities that need it, but goes back to the U.S. Treasury department, raising even more concern with the state’s cut to cities.