American Rescue Plan called lifeline for public safety in Clark County
The American Rescue Plan is a lifeline to Clark County’s 2.3 million residents and its public safety resources, officials say.
Updated April 1, 2021 - 6:04 pm
Local officials on Thursday said funding for local governments under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan was a lifeline to Clark County’s 2.3 million residents who have faced economic pressures during the pandemic.
“The American Rescue Plan is a fulfillment of our promise to the people of this country because unprecedented times call for unprecedented solutions,” said Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., in a brief news conference in Las Vegas.
Nearly $3 billion in stimulus funding is set to be delivered to Nevada under the $1.9 trillion package. But the county’s direct funding of $439 million over the next two years is particularly significant due to its potential to affect thinly stretched resources such as rental aid and law enforcement.
The county provides social services across the region — including incorporated cities — and it contributes roughly two-thirds of the budget for the Metropolitan Police Department. The city of Las Vegas, which is expected to receive a direct $130 million allocation, funds the remainder.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo said the new funding will enable the police department to fill a $20 million deficit and avoid layoffs.
“When you think about where those funds will go, think about all that Clark County does,” said Commissioner Michael Naft, who joined Lombardo and Lee during the news conference outside Metro’s Enterprise Area Command in the southwestern valley.
Social services in demand
Nearly 24,000 applications were pending as of Tuesday for a county program that has offered rental or mortgage aid to residents since July, illustrating the skyrocketing demand for social services. The county said that it expects 60,000 households will ultimately receive more than $250 million in relief, buoyed by the new stimulus package and federal relief spent last year.
On Thursday, Gov. Steve Sisolak released a framework for spending the state’s $2.9 billion in relief funds, which prioritizes strengthening social safety nets as well as health and safety and access to basic necessities.
“Our state’s ability to recover from this pandemic and build a stronger Nevada will be dependent upon the recovery of our residents first,” Sisolak said in a statement.
‘Keep Las Vegas safe’
The county commission has yet to approve allocating its direct share of money in its tentative budget, which projects 18-percent growth over the current fiscal year, but Naft said dollars will be able to help fund vaccination efforts, personal protective equipment for first responders and sustaining adequate staffing levels within the Clark County Fire Department.
The American Rescue Plan will also reduce health care costs for Nevadans, and provide $1.1 billion to K-12 education in the state and up to $1,400 in economic stimulus payments to anyone earning under $75,000 annually. Billions of dollars nationwide are expected to help local restaurants and venue operators, according to Lee.
“All of this together will help get our economy back on track, keep our officers on their beats and provide first responders with the resources they need to help keep Las Vegas safe,” she said.
Republicans did not support the package, signed into law by Biden last month, because they said it was a boon to special interests that would escalate the national debt.
Contact Shea Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.