weather icon Mostly Cloudy

$2.7 billion in federal aid funnels into state coffers

CARSON CITY — The state’s $2.7 billion share of American Rescue Plan funds to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is officially in the bank following action Tuesday by a legislative committee.

The Interim Finance Committee’s formal vote to accept the funds essentially sets up a reserve account for yet-to-be-determined projects related to pandemic mitigation under a state framework. That framework emphasizes support for health care access, public education, disadvantaged communities, workforce development, infrastructure investment, modernizing government services, and budget shortfalls.

The total amount, just under $2.74 billion, is direct to the state and comes in addition to separate allocations made to counties, school districts and large cities.

“This might be the largest IFC item that we’ve ever dealt with,” said Sen. Chris Brooks, D-Las Vegas and the committee chairman.

Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas and the committee’s vice chair, said, “Oh, hell yes!” when Brooks requested a motion to vote on accepting the funds.

The money is in addition to billions more received by local governments and school districts, including $440 million to Clark County, $130 million to Las Vegas, $46 million to North Las Vegas and $37 million to Henderson. Nevada schools got $1.1 billion; localities with less than 50,000 population shared $150.7 million. Brooks said total pandemic assistance to the state had topped $7 billion.

Gov. Steve Sisolak and legislative leaders in April released a plan for allocating the latest batch of funds, seeking input from across Nevada through local government channels but also via direct requests. The state framework includes links for stakeholders and members of the public to share their ideas for spending the money, in English and Spanish.

“It is our hope to hear from all Nevadans on the best ways to use these funds, and it is our intention that these requests will be organized and prioritized in a collaborative manner,” Susan Brown, director of the governor’s finance office, said during the hearing Tuesday. She did not have the latest numbers on requests received to date; Brooks said the last number heard was more than 1,000.

Carlton, setting expectations, noted that the windfall would not be immediately available, with requested allocations going through normal channels, including the IFC. Funds also need to go to plugging budget holes and covering ongoing costs of virus response.

“It’s going to take some time to get it out there and get it on the street to folks,” Carlton said. “So all my nonprofit friends, don’t be calling me saying when can they apply for the money because it’s going to be awhile.”

The state will use $5 million to fund a raffle to encourage people to get vaccinated. National figures put the vaccine-shy Silver State in the lowest third of states by rate of percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated. The official state tally Tuesday listed the vaccination rate for Nevadans 12 and older at 43.5 percent.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Nevada police agencies to receive grant monies

At least $1.4 million in a Community Policing Development (CPD) program will make its way to Nevada to help support law enforcement officers.

VICTOR JOECKS: How Joe Biden stole Christmas

Christmas classics would be a lot different if they had been written during President Joe Biden’s administration.

Motorcycle crash prompts Mercy Air response

A structure fire on the 4400 block of East Paiute Boulevard prompted the response of Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services crews.

Mizpah rates high in list of haunted stops

Under an agreement between conservationists and a federal agency, a finding must be issued by the end of the month.

Sisolak prepares for ‘heated year’ ahead of 2022 election

Gov. Steve Sisolak, in an interview at the governor’s mansion in Carson City, said he prays daily for guidance in handling the COVID pandemic.

Beatty VFW Memory Garden Dedicated

The Beatty VFW Memory Garden is now open and was dedicated Oct. 9 during the VFW post’s Fall Festival, which featured food, art and craft booths, and a silent auction.

Airport signs to soon show ‘Harry Reid’ as new name

Work could commence soon on updating signage at McCarran International Airport to reflect the name change to Harry Reid International Airport.

Ground turkey products recalled

Butterball, LLC, a Mount Olive, N.C. establishment, is recalling approximately 14,107 pounds of ground turkey products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically blue plastic, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Nevada Highway Patrol receives $100k public safety grant

By putting in additional efforts to combat drunk and distracted drivers along Silver State roadways, the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division has received a grant in the amount of $100,000 from the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety for targeted DUI enforcement campaigns during the coming year.