(The Center Square) – Local governments in Georgia soon will get federal relief intended to help cover unexpected costs from mitigating the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday.
The disbursement of the $1.23 billion from the second federal coronavirus relief package will be a “phased, measured approach,” Kemp said.
“It is also important that funding be disbursed equitably, but with the knowledge that some of our hardest-hit communities will need more assistance than others,” Kemp wrote Monday in a letter to local leaders. “I encourage cities and counties to work together to address expenses or challenges that cross jurisdictional lines.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in March, earmarked $4.1 billion for Georgia to cover COVID-19 expenses from March 1 to Dec. 1.
Federal guidance called for 45 percent of the aid to be allocated to local governments. Atlanta and Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties have received their portion of federal funding directly from the federal government, according to U.S. Treasury.
Kemp said other counties should expect 30 percent of the $1.23 billion to be disbursed as part of phase one. The state is in the process of launching a portal that would allow officials in local communities to apply for a direct deposit of the aid.
The first round of aid would have to used by Sept. 1. The remainder of the funds would be allocated on a reimbursement basis.
The U.S. Treasury dispersed $88 million to Atlanta, $132.6 million to Cobb County, $104 million to Fulton County, $125 million to DeKalb County and $163 million to Gwinnett County.
Todd Edwards, deputy legislative director for the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), said the most significant challenge counties face amid the outbreak is a loss of revenue. Still, they have to cover expenses that were not budgeted into their spending plans for the fiscal year.
Local counties need to buy personal protective equipment and pay overtime and hazard pay for staff and first responders, Edwards said.