RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the future distribution of $644.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to local governments in its second and final round of allocations.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) established the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to provide funding to states and eligible units of local government navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to officials, the payments represent the remaining 50 percent of local allocations. They say they do not include $200.2 million that Fairfax County received directly from the federal government.
Virginia received about $3.1 billion of the $150 billion CRF.
While the CARES Act does not require that states distribute funding to local governments with populations less than 500,000, the governor recognizes that cities and counties of all sizes have expenses related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and directed these federal dollars to localities.
“Virginia was one of the first states to provide such a large share of its federal aid directly to local governments. We are committed to making sure localities of all sizes get the assistance they need to respond to COVID-19 and keep Virginians safe during these unprecedented times.”Gov. Ralph Northam | Virginia
Similar to the first round, the second round of funding will be allotted proportionally based on population.
To receive the second allocation, localities must submit a new certification form and complete an online survey regarding the use of their CRF dollars.
The two documents must be completed and submitted before the Department of Accounts will initiate the transfer of funds to the local treasurer.
The CARES Act requires that CRF dollars only be used to cover costs that:
- Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency,
- Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the state or government
- Were incurred during the period of March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.
Current federal rules prohibit state and local governments from using the CRF to replace lost revenues and address significant budget shortfall; however. State and local government officials have requested that this restriction be lifted in future stimulus packages.
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