Dukes County is set to receive more than $3.3 million in federal coronavirus relief funding — a hefty windfall nearly the double size of the county’s annual budget.

The money is part of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, intended to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including public health and economic impacts.

Although much of the federal money will go directly to municipalities and states, more than $65 billion in aid has been allocated to county governments around the country. A total of $400 million has been allocated the six vestigial counties in Massachusetts: Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, Norfolk, and Plymouth.

The other eight state counties were abolished long ago, with cities and towns set to receive larger allocations of federal aid in lieu of the county funds.

The $3.3 million for Dukes County will come in two installments, county commissioners said at their meeting Wednesday, with $1.7 million expected next week and a second allocation of funds coming at a similar time next year.

Eligible uses for the funds are spread among four broad categories, according to government regulations, including response to the Covid-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, providing premium pay to essential workers, providing government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to Covid-19, or to invest in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

But the surprise government gravy has already stirred up a bit of jockeying from county leaders about the how, when, where and what of its use. The total annual county budget is around $10 million — nearly all of it for the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, which controls its own revenue and expenditures. The rest, about $1.7 million, is controlled by the county commission and used for administering health and human services funds to Island towns, personnel expenses, contracting for beach management and maintaining the Edgartown courthouse and registry of deeds, among other things.

In an editorial published Wednesday, the Boston Globe said given the mostly obsolete functions of county government in the commonwealth, the money should be turned over to cities and towns.

“In Massachusetts, most of the state’s 14 counties ceased to exist as legal entities years ago and endure only as lines on a map,” the newspaper wrote. “The county governments that do still exist only handle minor tasks like providing courthouse maintenance and administering land records — and they’re hardly equipped to handle the sudden arrival of a giant check from Washington. Instead of trying to spend the money themselves, the counties should either turn it over to municipalities or the state.”

County commissioners shrugged off the editorial at their meeting Wednesday, defending their role.

“We need to be really strong in thinking about this funding,” commissioner Keith Chatinover said. “I think we need to stand strong in the idea that the county can spend money wisely . . . we shouldn’t be apologetic about it.”

Commissioner Tristan Israel suggested putting part of the $3.3 million toward the county budget, which was aggressively pared down during the pandemic.

“We’re always scrimping, we’re always cutting,” Mr. Israel said. “I think there’s room for us to use some of that money, and not just be a pass-through.”

He added that if the money were to be reallocated to town governments, it would be wise to tack on an administrative fee. The county currently charges towns a five per cent fee to administer funds to towns on the Island — a controversial practice that has rankled some health and human service providers.

“If the money is coming to us and it’s going to be distributed and we end up with nothing, we . . . should at least have an administrative tax,” Mr. Israel said. “I’m being serious here.”

Commissioners Christine Todd, Richard (Peter) Wharton, John Cahill and Don Leopold all said the allocation of the money merited broader discussion among Island stakeholders and the full commission. Mr. Cahill suggested an advisory counsel, while Mr. Wharton said it would be discussed at a county finance subcommittee meeting Thursday afternoon.

“I’d hate to see us end up thinking about this as a zero-sum game as to who gets to decide what happens with what,” Mr. Leopold said.

“I look forward to the healthy debate that will likely ensue,” Ms. Todd said. “It’s really good news.”

In other business Wednesday, county commissioners discussed beach regulations for the summer, including new signs to prevent jumping near the bridges on Beach Road. They also discussed a bill filed by state Rep. Dylan Fernandes that would allow the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest superintendent to live in a house on the property.

County manager Martina Thornton also announced that a new assistant treasurer had been hired, and Mr. Leopold gave an update on the county’s planning process, which included interviews with 26 individuals ranging from selectmen to nonprofit leaders about the role of the county and county government.