Congress in March authorized $19.5 billion in aid for cities and towns with fewer than 50,000 residents, including very small jurisdictions such as Bingham. Lawmakers wanted to help every town cover the cost of fighting a pandemic and recovering from last year's recession.
But in some small, rural or conservative towns, local leaders are refusing the cash. They say they don't need it, and in some cases, don't feel comfortable accepting it.
Bingham's leaders recently turned down about $69,000 in federal COVID-19 relief aid because they couldn't think of a way to spend it, Young said.
"That's the main reason why we opted not to do it," Young said. "There's no sense having [the money] sit here for two years, then turn around and send it back, because you can't spend it."