St. Anne Mayor Dave O’Connell was anticipating his eastern Kankakee County village would receive in the neighborhood of $50,000 through the municipal portion of the recently approved federal stimulus package.
When he learned St. Anne would receive $147,269 — half in 2021 and half in 2022 — he was overwhelmed.
“I was pretty excited about it,” O’Connell said Monday afternoon. “We have a few projects where this money could come in handy.”
The money can be applied to a wide variety of infrastructure projects.
O’Connell pointed to the village’s streetscape project in which the village would be required to come up with matching funds for grants.
“If we can use it for this, it would mean we wouldn’t have to dip into our reserves. Hopefully this money will help stimulate some economy around town. … This was a nice surprise.”
Only miles from St. Anne, Momence Mayor Chuck Steele said the city council has obviously not had time to determine how the money will come in, how it can be spent or when it must be spent.
However, he said, the $382,257 figure Momence is slated to receive is “a pretty good number.”
“With everything that has happened during this past year, there are quite a few things that can be done. We will determine by the entire city council how this money should be used,” Steele said.
In all, some $130.2 billion — half going to county government and half to municipal governments — will be distributed nationwide by the federal government as determined by the recently enacted $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
Half of the money earmarked to each governmental body will be distributed in 2021 and the other half in 2022. Municipalities have until Dec. 31, 2024, to have used the money.
A total of $42,572,253 will be headed to municipalities throughout Kankakee County.
The bill where the municipal funds are coming through is the same bill which earmarks $1,400 of economic impact funding — known more widely as stimulus checks — to qualified-income individuals across the country.
Manteno Mayor Tim Nugent, like other local leaders, said he is waiting to see exactly what these monies can be used for and how they are not to be used.
But for village with an annual budget ranging from $5 million to $6 million, the $1.1 million Manteno will receive is substantial to the community’s future.
“We certainly want to be smart as to how this is used. These types of resources can aid us for years to come if invested properly,” he said.
Nugent said the flip-side to this cash windfall is how long will it take taxpayers to pay back these trillions of dollars which have been distributed within the past several months.
“It will take generations to get us out of this. This windfall we are seeing now will not last forever. We have to put this money in smart places. Our first step is to make sure what in qualified spending.”
Across the county in Herscher, incoming Mayor Shannon Sweeney, who is unopposed to replace outgoing Mayor Ray Schneider in April’s consolidated election, said the money Herscher will receive is simply bonus money.
“We weren’t anticipating anything. We most often get overlooked,” he said.
He noted the village has a 1 percent sales tax referendum on the April 6 ballot. If approved, that money would be used for roads and sidewalk upgrades.
He noted the village normally replaces four blocks of village roads each year. With the mileage within the village, it takes many years to complete the process.
“I think we would definitely use this stimulus money for infrastructure,” he said. “Maybe would could also start focusing on a downtown façade program and street improvements.
“In Herscher we try to maintain what we have,” he said. “We maintain our streets, we maintain our parks.”