COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTRF) – After months of lobbying, Ohio’s townships will finally get their share of the American Rescue Plan.

Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 168 on Tuesday.

Now, non-entitlement forms of local government, like townships, will be sharing $844 million dollars in American Rescue Plan relief. However, only $422 million was included in this bill, because the money will come in two allotments.

We are ecstatic that townships in Ohio are now eligible for direct ARP funds. Congress’s intention was to provide funding relief to local governments. With townships providing essential services to four million Ohioans, they desperately need these funds, just like cities and villages. Though it was discouraging to learn in May that Ohio townships are not considered ‘strong-minor civil divisions’ and therefore were not automatically eligible for direct ARP funds, we are heartened that our state’s leadership has recognized townships’ rightful designation as NEUs.

Heidi M. Fought, Executive Director, Ohio Township Association

The Ohio Township Association (OTA) told 7News that the townships will have to register for the funding before the first payment.

The OTA has been fighting for this money for months. When the American Rescue Plan legislation was initially passed, it did not include “non-entitlement units of local government”, which the majority of Ohio’s 1,308 townships are. After receiving help from the state’s representation in Washington D.C., the federal government left it up to states to allocated the funding.

Local townships tell 7News the American Rescue Plan money is more restrictive in how it can be used than the Cares Act, but they have a plan.

Be sure to stay with 7News for any updates.