While Madison County and the cities of Richmond and Berea grapple with coronavirus and making the financial adjustments to keep their budgets afloat, Gov. Andy Beshear has announced $300 million in CARES funding to reimburse their governments.
The announcement was made Wednesday to award city and county governments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to pay back local governments for expenses incurred during their response to the public health emergency, according to a news release.
“Local governments have been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19 and are a lifeline in our local communities,” Beshear said. “During this fight, they have sacrificed so much to protect others by supplying PPE, enforcing guidelines, keeping the public informed and looking out for our most vulnerable. This funding will help them better protect all Kentuckians.”
Funds will be given by the Department of Local Government (DLG) and can be used for reimbursements of expense necessary to comply with the health crisis needs, the release reads.
The funding will be allocated to city and county governments based on approximate population size as recorded in the most recent census data.
Madison County's population is just over 92,000.
DLG Commissioner Dennis Keene noted city and county governments have stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our local governments are on the front lines of this pandemic, sacrificing to keep Kentuckians safe. This funding is critical in the continued fight against COVID-19,” Keene said.
The U.S. Department of Treasury has outlined specific guidelines and examples of eligible reimbursements for funding through CARES, which was enacted by the U.S. Congress to stimulate the economy and provide financial relief for those addressing the public health emergency.
Guidelines include that expenses are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID–19; were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020; and were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on Dec. 30, 2020.
Eligible reimbursements may include but are not limited to: the purchase of personal protective equipment for health and safety employees; expenses for communication and enforcement by governments for COVID-19 related public health orders; expenses for food delivery to nursing homes and vulnerable populations; improvements necessary for public employees to telework to comply with public health precautions; expenses for disinfection of public spaces and facilities; and payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services and similar employees who dedicated substantial time to mitigating or responding to the public health emergency.
For a detailed list of eligible expenses and guidelines, visit the U.S. Department of Treasury’s website. For application information or assistance, visit DLG’s website. On the website, eligible local governments with COVID-19 related expenses from March 1, 2020, to Dec. 30, 2020, can complete an application with expense documentation.
In other coronavirus related news, for the third day in a row, there are no new cases of the coronavirus being reported in Madison County.
The total known cases remains at 43, with 36 of those said to be recovered. No active cases are being treated at Baptist Health Richmond, officials said.