MTN News: Sen. Tester: Kalispell to receive $5.95M in new COVID-19 relief package

by Jaurdyn Johnson

KALISPELL – Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) visited Kalispell on Tuesday to announce his new COVID-19 relief bill which would give more financial relief to local schools health care centers and local businesses.

“The American Rescue Plan provides critical resources that gets Montana businesses schools and communities reeling as quickly as possible and we are seeing the benefits,”said Sen. Tester.

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Sen. Tester’s plan will give the city of Kalispell $5.95 million to help keep schools open, vaccine clinics running, and even create a new septic system in the Flathead.

“The bottom line is this in order to fully reopen our economy folks need to get back to work we need to get vaccines in as many arms of Montanans as quickly and safely as possible,” said Sen. Tester.

Not only will the Flathead City-County Health Department (FCCHD) use this relief package to continue running vaccine clinics, keep nurses on the job, but to solve issues around the city sewage system.

“The potential use of that funding for sewer projects countywide sewer projects we have some issues around sewer and flathead county, most of it involves septage,” said FCCHD Health Officer Joe Russell.

Sen. Tester noted the economy rebounding from the pandemic will take a lot of work.

“Reopening is just a piece of the puzzle we have to make sure that workers, schools, businesses, local governments come out of this crisis strong when the economy rebounds,” Sen Tester said.

The Democrat said that’s why K-12 schools in Montana will receive $382 million in funding, “to ensure that every student and returned back to the classroom and full time learning to end to address the learning challenges.”

Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Micah Hill said that with 10% of the student population switching to remote learning at the beginning of the school year, there have been many struggles, but there is still good to be found.

“We’ve been presented some challenges but we also are very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish we did not shut down one school for one day and during this whole time,” said Hill.

Overall, the American Rescue Plan will give Montana state, and local governments statewide $1.97 billion. You can find the plan broken down here.