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Plan would reallocate $6.5 million in Howard County funds for coronavirus-related needs

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Tuesday announced his plan to reallocate $6.5 million from the fiscal 2021 budget to go toward support for residents and businesses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation, which requires County Council approval, is set to be heard by the council in January.

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The aid includes:

  • $2 million for the Howard County Economic Development Authority to issues additional grants and low-interest loans;
  • $1 million for Howard County General Hospital to continue creating infrastructure for additional ICU and bed capacity;
  • $1 million in housing assistance to prevent evictions and foreclosures;
  • $1 million for food and utility bill assistance; and
  • $1.5 million for the extension of educational support and child care programs like HoCo Scholars and RecZone.

The county is using the reserve balance from fiscal 2020 to fund these allocations. To make emergency appropriations, the Howard County Charter mandates council approval.

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Ball said the aid allocation was made to supplement the $56.8 million in federal CARES Act funding the county received in mid-June and fill the gap left when Congress passed legislation this week that did not include more funding for local governments.

“What is most clear is that many people cannot wait for relief that is needed now,” Ball said. “This pandemic is far from over.”

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