GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (FOX) – As 2021 draws to a close, municipalities in Mesa County are submitting their budgets for 2022, but next year’s budget is very different.
The US bailout is expected to pump millions of dollars into the Western Slope over the next few years.
It’s a historic godsend, like nothing our region has ever seen. In March 2021, Congress adopted the US bailout.
The law included the national and local stimulus fund, the funding will go directly to cities and can be used for a wide range of projects. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, the way I see it,” said Peter Baier, Mesa County Administrator.
The US bailout will flood the Western side with funds totaling $ 42.2 million.
The fund allocates just under $ 30 million to Mesa County, $ 12 million to the city of Grand Junction, $ 3 million to Fruita and $ 600,000 to Palisade. “Adding $ 30 million to the budget really helps, it’s a big help and it speeds up our recovery,” Baier said.
As with any convention act, it comes with conditions. “These dollars come with certain spending requirements for local governments, they have to be used for certain things,” Baier said.
While recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic remains the top priority, funding, through the US bailout, will also speed up many county projects by sharing funds with smaller towns like Mesa, Collbran and De Beque. “They have real needs for sewage and fiber,” says Baier.
Plan funds will massively accelerate the resumption and development of new projects on the western slope, even in Palisade. “We’re all trying to get back on our feet pretty much from some of the economic setbacks that occurred during this COVID-19 pandemic and we believe it has come at a very opportune time for us.”
While we are not yet past the pandemic, the US bailout means the future of Mesa County is not only bright, but the proposed projects could be historic. “These funds are the most influx or windfall that Mesa County has seen, I don’t think we’ve seen anything near or approaching close to $ 30 million,” Baier said.
The American Rescue Plan funds are the biggest federal windfall Mesa County has seen in history.
To put this in perspective, the most significant previous federal funding was back in 1933 with President Roosevelt’s New Deal program.
Congress initially allocated $ 500 million to the state for emergency relief, which equals $ 8 billion today.
This year, the US bailout plans $ 350 billion with a minimum of $ 500 million for each state.