From staff reports
The city of Beaufort and Port Royal are two of South Carolina’s 254 municipalities asking Gov. Henry McMaster to get their share of the $435 million coming to them from the federal American Rescue Plan.
Municipalities with populations greater than 50,000 have received their shares but the state, i.e., the Governor has not officially asked the U.S. Treasury to release the $435 million slated for the smaller municipalities.
According to the Municipal Association of South Carolina, Beaufort is slated to receive $6.7 million and Port Royal, $6.6 million.
“The counties have received their money as well as some of the larger municipalities. The rest of us are waiting, missing out on earned interest,” Beaufort Mayor Stephen Murray said.
Part of the problem, according to the observers in Columbia, is the Legislature cannot dictate how the local governments will spend their money and some municipalities have not identified how the dollars will be spent to offset the cost of COVID-impacted losses
“The S.C. Municipal Association has made it clear to them the situation we’re facing but they don’t seem to be listening,” Murray said. “Some people may want to talk about that money and whether it’s really needed. I may agree but the reality is that money is coming to the municipalities, and we want our share.”
The town of Hilton Head Island received its first payment of $5.8 million in May while Bluffton received its first payment of $1.98 million. Beaufort County received its allocation of $18 million.
The Governor’s spokesman has stated McMaster will make the request before the Legislature reconvenes in September but no other time frame was included in that statement.