Bozeman City Hall File

The sun sets on Bozeman City Hall on Feb. 3, 2021.

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The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that Congress passed this past week will send millions of dollars to Bozeman’s coffers.

Bozeman is estimated to receive $12.06 million in two payments distributed through the state, according to information from the Montana League of Cities and Towns. The city can use the funds for investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure, for continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to make up for lost revenue.

The city’s budget, which includes spending from July 1, 2020, to June 30, is about $121 million.

City Manager Jeff Mihelich said “everything is on the table” at the moment within the bill’s restrictions. The city is anticipating it will add money into its budget process for next year, Mihelich said. Local governments are required by Congress to spend the money by the end of 2024.

“It’s actually good timing because we’re developing the budget right now. So now we’ll have another $12 million dollars and that will have an impact on the budget,” Mihelich said. “It’s going to make our budgeting process a little bit more complicated, but we’re happy to receive the 12 million.”

The money from the American Rescue Plan follows $4.25 million Bozeman received from the CARES Act this past year. The city allocated half of its CARES Act funding to nonprofits, 20% to a grant and loan program for businesses, 20% for city COVID-19 operations and 10% to a rainy day fund.

The bill also included $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals, direct funding to states and billions to reopen schools and aid the vaccine rollout across the country.

The Montana Legislature is reviewing a bill to distribute the American Rescue Plan funds in the state during committee hearings this week.

Billings, Missoula and Great Falls are each receiving their share of the $1.9 trillion from the federal government, while funds for smaller cities and local governments are routed through the state. Montana League of Cities and Towns Executive Director Tim Burton said the bill does not give legislators the ability to adjust how much money local governments receive.

The plan is similar to the spending package passed in the wake of the Great Recession, Burton said, and will help local governments in the immediate and in the future.

“I think that there’s going to be, not just the money that is available for local governments, but all the business assistance and public health assistance, all of that benefits our community at large,” Burton said. “The point is let’s get through the pandemic and then lets immediately start rebuilding the economy.”

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Nora Shelly can be reached at or 406-582-2607.

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