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Baltimore County holds town hall to discuss how to spend millions in ARP funds

Posted at 10:45 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 23:22:41-05

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski held a virtual townhall Wednesday to give community members the chance to weigh in on how the county should spend millions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

Last week, Olszewski announced a proposal to use $80 million for the county's response to COVID-19 as well as $60 million to bolster the economy by helping businesses and residents recover.

The county received $161 million ARP funds and held the townhall to receive feedback from the community on the proposal and how the remaining $20 million should be spent.

“Our plan for recovery is a generational opportunity to build a stronger future for all of our communities," said Olszewski. 

More than a dozen community members joined the virtual townhall advocating for funding for childcare providers, emergency responders and community recreation centers.

“There’s a critical staffing shortage," said Julie Traut.

Traut said providing more funding is crucial for childcare providers because the industry has been one of the hardest hit since the beginning of the pandemic.

“When a childcare center has to send a teacher home that has symptoms that does have a tremendous impact on childcare and then a ripple effect on parents," she said.

Robert Gould said Baltimore County Volunteer Fire Departments have struggled financially throughout the pandemic. 

He said the money can go a long way for them. 

“Not only will be this be a prudent use of American Rescue Plan dollars, but it's the right thing to do for those who have put it all on the line for the county’s residents since this pandemic began.”

County officials said they will use feedback from the community before they make a final decision on how the rest of the money is spent. 

There is another virtual townhall scheduled for Nov. 29th.