$85.4 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) are being disbursed this week to North Carolina counties. The four largest local governments (with populations in excess of a half million people) have already received a direct distribution from the US Treasury of about $481 million; the remaining funds have been received by the State of North Carolina to be used on behalf of the State and the remaining local governments. The State share of the remaining funds is estimated to be approximately $3.585 billion.
59 counties that have completed certification will receive funds this week from the state-administered Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) that was passed by Congress. Counties have been encouraged to support their municipalities with a portion of the funding as needed. Lincoln County has been allocated $1,651,054. The City of Lincolnton has requested a portion of that money (no specific amount), but whether they receive any of it or not will be up to County Commissioners.
The money must be spent for expenses directly related to expenditures incurred to address the COVID-19 pandemic including such things as:
- Medical expenses including the COVID-19 related expenses of public hospitals and clinics, establishment of temporary medical facilities, COVID-19 testing, and public telemedicine capabilities.
- Public health expenses such as the acquisition of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, disinfection of public areas and other facilities such as nursing homes, and expenses for public safety measures, including expenses for quarantining.
- Payroll expenses for public safety or healthcare employees whose services are substantially dedicated to responding to the COVID-19 emergency.
- Expenses of actions that facilitate compliance with COVID-19 related public health measures such as teleworking, distance learning, food delivery paid sick and family and medical leave for public employees, expenses for maintaining prisons, and expenses for protecting the homeless population.
- Expenses associated with the provision of economic support in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Catawba County was allocated $2,845,947; Gaston County, $3,903,161; Cleveland County, $1,843,630.
Though the federal government did not require that the state share any of the $3.56 billion in the CRF to North Carolina local governments, Governor Cooper’s COVID-19 budget proposal recommended $300 million be allocated to counties and municipalities. Ultimately, the unanimously approved and bipartisan budget that Governor Cooper signed included $150 million for counties which have the flexibility to share monies with their municipalities as county commissioners deem appropriate.