As River Forest plans to receive $1.3 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the village of Oak Park could receive considerably more federal aid money. 

“Under the broadest interpretation of the American Rescue Plan, Oak Park could be eligible for up to $41 million in relief,” said Oak Park spokesman David Powers.

Keep hopes and expectations in check though, as the village views the possibility of receiving such a large amount of stimulus funds with healthy skepticism. 

“Many criteria will determine funding eligibility and we are not confident that the numbers being shared in new reports accurately reflects how much individual communities may actually receive,” Powers told Wednesday Journal.

The village’s understanding is that the federal government intends for the money to be used to provide relief from economic damage triggered by COVID-19, instead of long-standing municipal funding issues from before the pandemic, according to Powers.

Powers told Wednesday Journal the village hopes the federal government will provide enough to address potential deficits so as to avoid having to tap into the village’s fund balances. 

“The village has lost more than $3.5 million in parking revenues from the garages and waived permit fees. Just recouping these losses would be a major victory,” said Powers.

The village of Oak Park is also tracking closely all of the costs associated with managing the impacts of the pandemic, including more than 30 vaccination clinics to date and will aggressively seek reimbursement, according to Powers.

Powers told Wednesday Journal the village of Oak Park’s chief financial officer Steve Drazner will be participating in an upcoming webinar for eligible communities that will detail when Oak Park can apply for the relief funds and how to do so. 

“We will await the details before counting the money,” said Powers.

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