Friday, April 24, 2020

COVID-19 3.5 Relief Package Heads to President Trump for Signature

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the “COVID-19 3.5” Relief Package and sent the bill to President Trump for signature. This package, passed by the Senate on Tuesday, includes additional funding to support small businesses, hospitals and increase COVID-19 testing. This package does not include additional funding assistance for states or local governments. ACCG encourages you to continue to communicate with your Georgia Congressional delegation about the important services your county is providing in response to COVID-19 and the stress points you’re experiencing. A fourth COVID-19 legislative package is expected, and it is important that counties’ voices are heard!

U.S. Treasury Department Releases Guidance on Coronavirus Relief Fund

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has released guidance for State, Local, and Tribal Governments regarding the Coronavirus Relief Fund (Section 5001 of the CARES Act). As stated by the legislation signed by President Trump on March 27, the use of funds “are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).” The guidance document and frequently asked questions provide, in detail, examples of eligible and ineligible expenditures of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. You can find additional information about Assistance to State and local governments here.

The National Association of Counties has provided this additional insight:

Question 2 in the frequently asked questions notes that states may transfer CRF payments to local governments for eligible expenditures. The Act does not specify a percentage.ACCG and GMA sent a joint letter to Governor Kemp last week on this issue.
CRF payments may not be used to cover loss revenue. However, CRF payments can be used to cover expenses of providing paid sick and paid family and medical leave to public employees.

Eligible expenditures 
  • Medical expenses 
  • Public health expense substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 related public health measures (i.e. food delivery, distance learning efforts, telework capabilities, paid sick/family/medical leave, maintaining prisons/jails, care for homeless populations) 
  • Expenses associated with economic support in connection with COVID-19 public health emergency (i.e. grants to small businesses, expenditures of state/local govt. payroll support program, unemployment insurance costs) 
Ineligible expenditures 
  • Expenses for the states’ share of Medicaid 
  • Damages covered by insurance 
  • Payroll or benefits expenses for employees whose work duties are not substantially dedicate to mitigating/responding to COVID-19 
  • Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any federal program (i.e. reimbursement by the federal government pursuant to the CARES Act of contributions by states to state unemployment funds) 
  • Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services 
  • Workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime 
  • Severance pay 
  • Legal settlements 
New FAQ on Governor Kemp’s Executive Order

The Governor’s Office has released frequently asked questions to provide further explanation regarding the Executive Order signed on April 20, 2020. It identifies entities that can engage in Minimum Basic Operations, defines Minimum Basic Operations, provides best practices for places of worship and more.

Household Pulse Survey on COVID-19 Impact

The U.S. Census Bureau will be reaching out via email to 13.8 million homes throughout the country over the next 12 weeks to conduct the Household Pulse Survey. This is an online survey measuring employment, spending, food/housing security, education disruptions, and physical/mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic to determine its impact on American families. Questions will be asked about the household’s experience with the virus, and the results will be published weekly on their Experimental Data Projects page.. More information about this survey can be found HERE

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