Portman and House Colleagues Send Letter to Treasury in Support of Ohio Townships

March 24, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) along with Ohio Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Brad R. Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Robert E. Latta (R-OH), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Michael R. Turner (R-OH), Troy Balderson (R-OH), David P. Joyce (R-OH), and Steve Stivers (R-OH) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging clarification on funding eligibility for townships in the State of Ohio under the recently-enacted $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

On March 8th, 2021, Senate Democrats passed their $1.9 trillion spending package with no Republican support. Rushed changes by Senate Democrats prior to the bill’s final passage have brought into question whether Ohio townships are eligible for state and local funding.

“Ohio has more than 1,300 townships throughout the state that provide critical support for their residents similar to cities, including police and fire protection, maintenance of roads, emergency medical services, solid waste disposal, and zoning,” the Members wrote in the letter to Secretary Yellen. “Since cities and other municipalities of similar size are eligible for funding under the legislation, it seems only appropriate that townships should also qualify.”

“The Ohio Township Association is immensely grateful for the support our townships have received from members of Congress,” said Heidi M. Fought, OTA Executive Director. “All of Ohio’s forms of local government are in need of this funding – Ohio townships are no exception. Being determined ineligible for this funding would leave townships and their communities struggling to recover from the pandemic’s effects, while other local governments would benefit from the ARP’s financial boost.”

A PDF of the letter is available here and the text of the letter is available below.

Secretary Janet Yellen

U.S. Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20429

Dear Secretary Yellen:

We write to seek urgent clarification on funding eligibility for townships in the State of Ohio. It has come to our attention that language included in the American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2) brings into question whether Ohio townships are eligible for the state and local funding authorized in the bill.

We were disappointed that the American Rescue Plan was not developed in a bipartisan way, as the previous five coronavirus relief bills have been. It has come to our attention that Ohio’s townships face great uncertainty in funding through this legislation, which impacts their ability to plan to provide critical services to their citizens. Section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan provided $360 billion in coronavirus recovery funds for states, local governments, territories, and Tribal governments. However, the definition of a “nonentitlement unit of local government” calls into question whether Ohio’s townships are eligible for this funding.

Ohio has more than 1,300 townships throughout the state that provide critical support for their residents similar to cities, including police and fire protection, maintenance of roads, emergency medical services, solid waste disposal, and zoning. Since cities and other municipalities of similar size are eligible for funding under the legislation, it seems only appropriate that townships should also qualify.

We ask that you quickly make this determination and include townships for eligibility. We look forward to working with you and the Administration to continue to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and to address other issues facing our nation. We remain hopeful that we will be able to work in a bipartisan way on behalf of the American people.

Sincerely,

Rob Portman

Anthony Gonzalez

Steve Chabot

Brad R. Wenstrup, D.P.M.

Jim Jordan

Robert E. Latta

Bill Johnson

Bob Gibbs

Warren Davidson

Michael R. Turner

Troy Balderson

David P. Joyce

Steve Stivers

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