Will County Board OKs parameters on how to spend $133 million in federal aid

The money would be used for infrastructure improvements, health purposes, and economic development

The Will County Board met Dec. 7, 2020 to elect its leadership and approve rules changes for the next two years.

The Will County Board took one more step in deciding how to allocate a little over $133 million it received through a large federal pandemic aid package last year.

During its meeting Friday, the County Board approved parameters for how to spend the money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed to help municipalities, businesses and residents withstand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will County will spend about $50 million of its allocation on local infrastructure improvements, $30 million on health purposes, $25 million on economic development efforts, $10 million on revenue replacement for the county government, and $18 million on other unmet needs.

“Obviously as we go forward into this, if we need to amend those pillars, we will do so as necessary,” Will County Board Speaker Mimi Cowan, D-Naperville, said.

The board also voted to delegate authority for developing a program to distribute the federal aid to its Executive Committee.

Will County officials underwent a similar process when it was tasked with allocating about $120 million the county received via the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act in 2020.

The County Board established broad categories of spending on how to use those funds, including administering millions for small business grants for those impacted by the pandemic, and distributing aid to local bodies of government.

Local municipalities received their own allocations from the American Rescue Plan, so county officials have explored other initiatives for which to use its funds. County Board members have heard proposals from various entities to spend federal dollars on projects like promoting local tourist attractions and establishing a social service information system.

The board hired the Chicago-based consultant Anser for up to $1.5 million to help distribute the federal aid, according to county documents.