The Colusa County Board of Supervisors approved a CARES Act spending plan last week to utilize the $2.2 million dollars allotted to the county by the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We realize this won’t fill all the gaps in businesses losses, but hopefully it will help a little,” said Board of Supervisors Chairperson Denise Carter.
According to the plan, the payment may only be used to cover the costs of necessary expenditures incurred due to response and mitigation of the COVID-19 public health emergency between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.
“CFR funds are intended to address COVID-19 related public health and safety, while building resilience and assisting with economic stability for residents, employees, community based organizations and businesses,” it was stated in the plan.
The plan was divided into two parts, said Carter, with 45 percent allocated to the community. The plan outlines that $783,000 in funds will be used for local government support and the remaining $550,000 will be used for county operations.
Local government support funds are intended to cover the cost of or reimburse salaries and benefits of employees who are “substantially dedicated to responding to or mitigating the COVID-19 public health emergency,” retrofit county offices to accommodate social distancing requirements by installing improvements to create a safer working environment, expand and improve the county’s technological infrastructure and devices to enhance services while working remotely, purchase personal protective equipment and sanitization products to be distributed as needed, cover the increased costs of service and programs administered the county’s Department of Health and Human Services and expand contact tracing efforts through the end of the year.
The community investment funds are intended to administer funding to community based organizations to assist with food bank purchases and delivery for families impacted by the pandemic, enhance programming support for the Senior Nutrition program and other food programs serving vulnerable populations, partner with the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce to conduct outreach while providing education and assistance to businesses while enhancing their efforts to operate safely during the pandemic and reimburse for unexpected healthcare and operational costs related to patient surge capacities, testing, isolation units and alternative care sites administered by the county’s Department of Health and Human Services.
In March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law, authorizing more than $2 trillion to combat economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Act also established the CRF and appropriated $150 billion to state and local governments.
To receive funding, counties were required to adhere to federal guidelines in addition to the statewide shelter-in-place order that went into effect March 19.
Carter said while the Board of Supervisors did vote unanimously to abstain from enforcing any COVID-19 orders that “infringe upon a citizen’s constitutional rights,” during a special meeting in late May, they followed the requirements to receive funding and did not open anything within the county at that time. One month later, the Board also released a statement encouraging county operations to follow all state guidelines.