Senator Tester Secures $15.9 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding for Billings to Provide Pandemic Relief, Support Critical Services

Funding is a part of $1.25 billion for Montana in state and local funding secured by Senator in American Rescue Plan

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $15,940,314 for Billings—the full allocation of local funding from the American Rescue Plan, which can be used to plug revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic and fund critical services that keep cops, firefighters, and other first responders on the beat. These funds will be provided directly to Billings from the federal government.

This funding is a part of $1.25 billion secured by Tester for Montana state, county, and local governments in the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Relief Fund. Tester was the only member of the Montana delegation to vote for this legislation.

“In the past year, towns like Billings have been forced to coordinate a response to an unprecedented public health crisis, keep kids from falling behind in school, and ensure cops and firefighters stay on the beat with the resources they need to keep Montanans safe,” said Tester. “Montana’s local governments have been on the frontlines of this pandemic from day one, and I’ve heard from mayors and county commissioners that budgets are stretched thin. I’m proud to have secured this targeted relief that will help make sure that critical local services remain available while providing relief to Montana taxpayers.”

The $1.25 billion secured by Tester for state and local governments can be used to plug revenue shortfalls accrued during the crisis so localities do not have to cut critical services. The targeted relief can also be used to cover increased expenses associated with the public health response to the virus, including funding local emergency services like police officers and firefighters; securing additional personal protective equipment for first responders; and helping counties shoulder the costs of safely reopening schools, among others.

“The resources Senator Tester fought for in the American Rescue Plan will help ensure that Billings comes back even stronger from this public health and economic crisis,” said Billings Mayor Bill Cole. “The nearly $16 million our city will receive will help meet critical needs in our community as we rebuild our economy and get folks back to work.”

Fifty-five mayors from small and large towns across Montana thanked Tester for his efforts to pass the American Rescue Plan, writing: “This bill is a historic, bold, and unprecedented commitment to provide meaningful aid to Montana’s local governments. For all cities and towns, especially small and rural communities, this emergency aid is a game-changer, as all communities want to be part of the solution to recover from the pandemic and rebuild our economy.”

Montana cities and towns will receive nearly $136 million and counties will receive more than $207 million. This local funding will go directly to localities with populations of 50,000 or more, and for smaller areas, the funds will be disbursed through the state within 30 days. The state has no discretion to alter or withhold the allocated amounts.

Additionally, the state of Montana will receive more than $906 million to respond to the health and economic crisis as well as access to additional funds for capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency.

Montana’s Federally Recognized Tribes will receive funding directly from the Treasury Department later this month.

Over the past year, Tester has held hundreds of meetings with Montana’s workers, small business owners, frontline health care workers, educators, Tribes, and local officials to solicit input about what Montanans need to make it through this pandemic. Tester has worked tirelessly since the beginning of this pandemic to provide targeted relief to Montana. He secured $1.25 billion for Montana as a part of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act last year.