It’s been several months since President Joe Biden unveiled the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, known as the American Rescue Plan.  

The relief bill could pump more than $260 million into Erie County.  

The Erie County government is set to receive $52 million in funding.  

According to Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, the county received about $26 million in relief a few weeks ago and won’t receive the rest of the funding until next year.  

“I think the money is absolutely crucial to the renaissance that we are in the middle of, and we want to continue to take it forward,” said Dahlkemper.  “There’s so many great opportunities.” 

According to Dahlkemper, the county needs to have an ordinance in place before it can begin dispersing the money.  

Dahlkemper says she is working with Erie County Council to finalize that ordinance.  

Once it is approved, there will be general amounts of funding that can be applied for.  

While the plan is still a work in progress, Dahlkemper said there will be gap funding for sewer, water and broadband projects for municipalities throughout Erie County.  

Dahlkemper says there will also be additional funding for public safety.   

“We know that there is a big issue with fire and EMS in our community in general,” said Dahlkemper.  “We’re looking at potentially putting money behind efforts in terms of recruitment and retention.”  

Dahlkemper says there will also be significant funding to help out minority communities.  

“Particularly those communities who have been left behind not for years, but for decades, and even really for centuries,” said Dahlkemper.  “We’ll have specific pots of money for those groups who serve that community.”  

The county executive also expects there to be grants available for businesses who did not receive funding from the CARES Act.  

Dahlkemper also plans to establish a community service center, which will be made up of a few people who will help the county find additional funding.  

“We have to remember that this money can't just be used for whatever we want,” said Dahlkemper.  “There are guidelines around this, and the federal guidelines have to be adhered to.  So, that's the other thing we will do with the community future center, is making sure all the projects we're working on with this money do fall within the guidelines. 

Dahlkemper said she plans to have an ordinance finalized by next week, and it will be presented to Erie County Council at their next finance meeting on July 15. 

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.