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August 3, 2020

7/2/2020 3:26:00 PM
Federal aid funds heading to locals

Local government officials are going to see relief for their growing budget anxiety arising from unexpected expenses addressing the covid-19 situation.  The distribution method for local governments was announced by the state June 25, and Chisago County is slated for in excess of $6 million.

Earlier dispersements went to healthcare and longterm care providers, and other covid-impacted organizations in Minnesota, such as food shelves.

Covid related aid funds are being passed through the MN Department of Revenue,  and were announced to start being sent out this week.

Distribution of Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds is based on population.  

~Townships of less than 5,000 population qualify for $25 per capita.  

~The cities with over 200 residents get $75.34 per capita.  

~ The county distribution is calculated on $121.28 per capita (for counties with fewer than 500,000 residents.)
Un-used monies have to be sent back at the end of December.

The governing units first need to certify their intent to follow federal guidelines for spending their aid dollars.  The guidelines won’t allow any expenditures already accounted for in the existing budget to be covered, they must only be for expenses related to covid response and Public Health,  and eligible costs have to be attributed to the time period March 2020 through Dec. 2020.

County Administrator Chase Burnham said the day distribution was declared by the Governor the county submitted its certificate of intent paperwork to the state.

Still to be decided is how to allocate the county’s funds.  The County Board is able to address this now that the sum and the timetable are known, Burnham explained.

“People should be excited about this, I am excited...” he remarked.  

There is a possibility most of the county aid portion can be directed to local businesses. The county HRA is working with staff in the Government Center to evaluate priority needs and an crafting an administrative process to get the money out. Burnham said it is hoped funds could go to getting businesses back to pre-covid shape.

County administrators across the state have been conferring amongst each other on exactly which expenditures will be allowed under federal guidelines as covid-related. Burnham says the last thing he wants to have happen is to proceed on an acquisition for the county, or costly capital replacement felt to be eligible  as virus related-- and having it rejected when fund use reports are sent in at the end of this year.

As soon as all the finer details are adopted and agreed upon, the county plan on funds availability will be made known.

Cities and townships also need to deal with their allotments and complete the certificate of intent.

The smallest sums based on population, go to Center City at $46,000.  Rushseba Township is slated for $20,250.

According to the Republican caucus release, among the larger local populations; Wyoming City gets $605,000 and North Branch should qualify for $808,000.  Chisago Lake Twsp. can look for $117,000 and Lent is eligible to get $77,000.

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