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How should Normal use $10.8 million in COVID relief funds?

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Uptown Station/Normal City Hall building mug

Uptown Station is at 11 Uptown Circle, Normal.

NORMAL — A new survey is asking residents to rank how to best spend the town's $10.8 million slice of American Rescue Plan dollars.

Local governments in Illinois are expected to get around $5.5 billion under the act signed into law by President Joe Biden in March. Normal has already received half of the allocation, with the next portion to be paid in 2022.

"The town of Normal values feedback from residents and we want to hear from citizens how to prioritize these dollars," town spokeswoman Cathy Oloffson said in a statement. "The survey outlines several broad categories of how the monies can be used, and respondents are asked to rank the priority of the categories."

Funding through the American Rescue Plan is intended to help municipalities across the country boost COVID-19 recovery. The dollars must be allocated by 2024 and used by 2026.

A combined $24.38 million will be funneled directly to the city of Bloomington and the Town of Normal, under the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden last week.

A work session will be held in Normal later this year on how to use money based on needs in the community.

The survey lets participants prioritize "investment areas" on a low, medium, high, or "no" ranking. Open-ended questions also allow residents to state what they think are the biggest issues facing the town because of the pandemic.

It also includes demographic questions to ensure the town receives a sample that is representative of the community. 

People can complete the survey online through normal.org, social media pages, or through emailed subscriber lists. It is a partnership between the town and ZenCity, which helps create digital tools for civic engagement.

Contact Sierra Henry at 309-820-3234. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_sierrahenry.

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