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Adams County to receive $5.95 million from COVID relief bill

NATCHEZ — Adams County is set to receive $5.95 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The City of Natchez has $3.2 million earmarked for its coffers.

Both payments are part of the $6 billion coming to Mississippi to help the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, county officials say they have yet to receive those dollars or any guidance on how it can legally be spent.

“Before those regulations come in, we’re going to need to put this money in a separate account so it does not interfere with any other funds,” Supervisor Angela Hutchins said during Monday’s meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors. “We’re going to have to watch this money. … We have to make sure we spend this money right and make sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed because there will be an audit.”

Hutchins said she doesn’t know when the county will see the American Rescue Act funds.

“It could be June or July so we’re just waiting on it,” she said. “They’ve got to do all of the regulations on it and we have to do an application.”

Officials said they expect the funds to come in two different payments and they will have to spend it all by 2024.

Supervisor Ricky Gray said he is hopeful some of the money can be used to cover payroll after a lot of county employees were forced into overtime when fewer people were able to work because of the pandemic.

Gray said many county employees are underpaid but officials are hesitant to issue any raises because of uncertainties about the payroll budget.

“We don’t have any guidance yet on how we can spend this money but if it’s COVID related maybe we can use some of that money to replace the overtime. Until we get the guidelines on how we can spend this money, we need to be careful,” he said.

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