CALIFORNIA CITY — With the fiscal ramifications of the pandemic still unknown, California City will be eligible to receive between $2.2 and $2.6 million in relief money from the state as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Joe Biden.

City Manager Anna Linn announced the news during the March 23 council meeting.

“You have to show a plan of how you are going to use it and you will have 24 months to spend it,” Linn said. “It’s exciting news on how we can revitalize our community as well.”

The American Rescue Plan was the third stimulus bill Congress passed since the pandemic began and by far one of broadest. In addition to providing a third stimulus payment for Americans and child credit for eligible families and extending other much-needed programs, it has also injected $350 billion into  California’s educational, state and local government.

California will receive $26 billion total, while cities in the state will receive $8.4 billion. The state’s 58 counties will receive a total of $7.7 billion.

The city council will hold a virtual ZOOM workshop April 2 at 10 a.m to start discussions on the plan.

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the funding must be used for specific purposes including response to the public health emergency or negative economic impacts, support essential work, backfill a reduction in revenue dating back to Fiscal Year 2018-2019 or address water, sewer or broadband infrastructure issues.

States and local governments cannot use the funds to supplement pension or retirement payments.

Mayor Jeanie O’Laughlin called it exciting news for the city.

“The government is going to pass money directly to every town, city and village in America,” O’Laughlin said.

She stressed the money cannot be used for operations.

“It has to be used for things that will improve our city,” O’Laughlin said. “This is a one time thing … it comes directly from the state, not through the county so the county cannot syphon any off.”

O’Laughlin said the April 2 meeting will determine what priorities the council wants to establish with the money.

“This could be a real exciting game changer for us, to have over $2 million to do something that would make our city better,” O’Laughlin said. 

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