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.
“[…] Can rural economies be saved? We’re living in an increasingly urban world where talent and wealth are concentrating in large metropolitan areas. Rural America is growing older and getter poorer. Various policy efforts on the state and federal levels over the past several decades have not lifted that trend line.”