Dozens of cities across 22 counties in Washington state will soon receive their portion of nearly $300 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds awarded to the state to address costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The flexibility of the funds allows cities and counties to use their allocation for everything from public health and human services expenses to small business and economic support.
Announced May 11 by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the list of state recipients includes 38 cities in King County. Part of Auburn will receive $2.15 million. A portion of Enumclaw will get $366,000. Federal Way is set to receive $2.9 million. Kent will receive $3.89 million. Renton has been allocated $3.1 million. The state’s total amount of allocated CARES Act COVID-19 relief funds is $296,583,270.
“Cities and counties are the places we live — and they are the governments closest to the people. They are taking extraordinary measures to protect their residents during the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to provide the basic services we all rely on,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Commerce is committed to moving these critical dollars as quickly as possible so communities can plan and prepare for safe reopening and recovery.”
Municipalities were allocated funding based on population, COVID-19 impact and other factors, according to a May 11 announcement. The Department of Commerce is in the process of contracting with local governments to receive funds.
Funds may be used for costs incurred by the local government in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency from March 1 through Oct. 31.
Funds cannot be used to fill shortfalls in government revenue to cover expenditures that would not otherwise qualify under the statute or be used as revenue replacement.
In addition, the CARES Act relief payments cannot be used to cover costs accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, according to the department.
Allowable expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Medical and public health expenses.
- Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the emergency.
- Expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with public health measures.
- Expenses associated with the provision of economic support in connection with the emergency.
- Any other COVID-19-related expenses reasonably necessary to the function of government that satisfy the fund’s eligibility criteria.