MONTPELIER (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department cleared the way Friday for Vermont towns to receive an additional $120 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
The Vermont congressional delegation said the funding had been held back because of a technicality related to local governing bodies. In Vermont, the usual unit of local government is municipalities whereas counties are in much of the country.
On Friday, the Treasury Department changed its designation, recognizing towns as the local unit of governance.
"With this updated rule from the Treasury Department, $120 million intended for the state will now finally flow to towns throughout Vermont, and these resources will help meet needs for Vermonters across the state," the congressional delegation, Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, said in a joint statement.
The money is part of the $1.25 billion Vermont is receiving through the federal coronavirus relief package.
Last week, the office of Gov. Phil Scott reported Vermont received roughly the first half of the COVID-19 relief money the state is expecting. The other half is due to arrive next June.
All 276 eligible Vermont municipalities have been certified to receive COVID-19 relief funds.
The governor's office noted officials were awaiting word from the Treasury on the release of the additional $120 million.
On Friday, the Vermont Health Department reported 55 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to just under 24,900.
There were three patients hospitalized with COVID-19, none in intensive care.
The state reported one additional fatality, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to 260.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 12 new cases per day on July 14 to 26.14 new cases per day on July 28.
The Associated Press is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.