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Posted on: June 29, 2020

CARES Act Funding Available to Local Governments

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Governor Walz announces plan to distribute CARES Act funding to local governments, using the agreement outlined in Senate File 47.

Today, Governor Walz announced plans to use executive authority to disburse federal CARES Act dollars to local governments using the framework of Senate File 47, the bill passed by the Senate during Special Session and negotiated on by GOP and DFL House and Senate leaders. This action will require the Governor to run his proposal through the Legislative Advisory Commission which will have up to 10 days to react, but no authority to overturn. With a lack of action on these critical funds by the end of regular session and special session, counties were increasingly concerned about the unknowns and delays surrounding these relief funds. AMC is pleased that the Governor is following the outline of the negotiated Senate File 47 agreement and are thankful to members for their interest and engagement in this issue. AMC expects further guidance and communication from Department of Revenue and state officials in the coming days and will provide updates to counties/county staff as more information becomes available.

Department of Revenue CARES Act Information Page (in process of being created): https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/coronavirus-relief-fund-local-governments

AMC/MICA/MRC joint letter to Governor: Letter link

Outline of SF 47:

  • $841 million appropriation split roughly 55% ($467 million) to counties and 45% ($374 million) to cities/townships over a certain population threshold.
    • County runs (UPDATE: the Governor’s staff have confirmed that the official runs should mirror the linked “county runs” document released by Senate staff during Special Session).
  • Distribution levels for various governments are:
    • $25 per capita for towns between 200 and 4,999;
    • Approximately $75 (based on runs) per capita for cities over 200 plus towns with a population of 5,000 or more; and
    • $121.28 per capita for the total county population PLUS $75 per capita for cities under 200 and $25 per capita for the population within a county outside eligible towns/cities (unorganized territories). This means that county per capitas can range from $121.28 per capita to a high of $137.23.
  • The original senate bill language requires DOR to distribute by June 30 and county governments to return unspent funds to DOR for deposit in the state coronavirus relief federal fund by December 10th (with a requirement to spend the funds by December 1). Any city/township money unexpended by November 15 must be sent up to the “home county” no later than November 20. The county may then use any additional/returned funds before the December 1 date. If a city/township enters into a joint agreement with another unit of local government, they have until December 1 to spend their funds.
    • UPDATE: Because the Governor is using the LAC process, we expect a minor delay in getting these funds out and have been told a July 5-8th disbursement is more likely. 
  • A city/town that is not eligible for direct appropriation (under 200 population) may apply to the county for reimbursement after showing sufficient information to demonstrate COVID-related costs. Per capita reimbursement rates are included in the bill text.
  • The original Senate bill mandated counties spend at least 10% of their allocations on economic/business assistance.

Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) are available to local governments. Visit https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/coronavirus-relief-fund-local-governments for additional information. 

 UPDATE: We have heard that this mandate has been removed in the Governor’s plan, but that he will still recommend counties use their funds to assist residents and businesses in need.



Image courtesy of John McPherson.

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