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Florida Cities Will Benefit From American Rescue Plan


The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which Congress passedon Wednesday and President Biden is expected sign on Friday, includes money for local governments that have lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to theNational Conference of State Legislatures, the package includes about $7 billion for cities and counties in Florida.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says responding to COVID-19 did major harm to his city’s finances.

"What it cost us in overtime and everything else that we've had to put out in order to try and help our community get through this thing, we were out of pocket somewhere between $15 and $18 million,” he said.

He says the stimulus package will allow the city to replace those funds, while also letting it move ahead with public works projects that had been on hold.

Kriseman, a Democrat, has been an outspoken supporter of the relief. He teamed up with Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez, a Republican, to write an op-ed calling on Congress to pass it.

“...the president’s American Rescue Plan would provide the needed funding for states and cities — like St. Petersburg and Miami — that we need just to be able to keep our police officers, firefighters, and other first responders on payroll,” Kriseman and Suarez wrote in February.

While counties received help in the previous rounds of federal aid, every city in Florida other than Jacksonville was left out, as the CARES Act restricted direct payments to cities with more than 500,000 residents.

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Bradley George comes to WUSF from Atlanta, where he was a reporter, host, and editor at Georgia Public Broadcasting. While in Atlanta, he reported for NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and The Takeaway. His work has been recognized by PRNDI, the Georgia Associated Press, and the Atlanta Press Club. Prior to his time in Georgia, Bradley worked at public radio stations in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.
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