Capitol - COVID-19 - coronavirus cash - money

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - Bucks County has $61 million of federal pandemic relief aid in the bank. Now, the county will put together a plan to spend the American Rescue Plan funds.

The county is due to receive $122 million total in federal money. Half is already in, the rest is due next year. Accepting the money was an easy vote Wednesday for Chairwoman Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Vice Chairman Robert Harvie Jr. Gene DiGirolamo was absent to attend a funeral.

County Chief Operating Officer Margaret McKevitt said the next step is putting together a plan to spend the money. The county distributed pandemic aid in 2020 and earlier this year to businesses that lost revenue during the pandemic and to non-profit groups. The commissioners will have the final say over how this round of aid is spent.

McKevitt also told the commissioners that Bucks County is making progress toward reaching Pennsylvania's vaccination target.

"We are steadily marching toward that state goal of 70%," she said, and the vaccination is available without appointment at multiple county sites.

Harvie noted that the number of infections and COVID-19 hospitalizations are down. He asked all eligible residents to get the shot because the threat is not over.

"We do know that this is a virus that does tend to flourish in the fall and winter," he said.

The county is asking for residents' input on a new comprehensive plan. Some Bucks residents will receive surveys, and others who wish to weigh in can visit the county's Bucks2040 website, said Mike Roedig, of the planning commission.

The commissioners voted that June 13 will be Jesse Hill Day in the county in memory of Hill, a U.S. Army veteran who died April 29. Hill served in Vietnam and was as advocate for all veterans.

The meeting in Doylestown was over in 58 minutes. More than half of that was spent on proclamations and a presentation, before the board attended to agenda items.

The next Bucks County Board of Commissioners meeting will be June 16 at the county government center in Doylestown.

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