By Jessica Albert

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County leaders are looking for the public’s input on how it should spend money it got from the American Rescue Plan.

The America Rescue Plan gives out federal stimulus money to help communities recover from the pandemic.

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Howard County received $63.2 million from the American Rescue Plan. County leaders have opened up an online survey to get its resident’s opinions on how the money should be spent.

“Take the time, fill out the survey, participate in all of the dates that the county executive laid out if you want your feelings heard,” Howard County RISE Collaborative Chair Ken Ulman said.

Some of the money has already been set aside: $5 million will go to hazard pay for essential workers.

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$1.6 million will go toward police body cameras and $2 million will be used for foreclosure assistance.

In April, Howard County leaders started using county money to help those facing foreclosure. They spent $1.2 million to help 52 households and there are more applicants waiting in line.

“We are trying to help homeowners retain the equity in their home that they’ve worked so hard build and also stay in their homes with their families and their children,” Department of Housing and Community Development Director Kelly Cimino said.

The survey is open now. On Sept. 29 there will be a public hearing for more input. After that, several stakeholder meetings will be held next month before a presentation will be made to the Howard County Council about how the money should be spent on Nov. 3.

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“On a local level, we’re going to have to continue stepping up to make sure that while hope is on the horizon, we stay on this road to recovery and that people not only survive but get to the other side of this and thrive,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said.

Jessica Albert