The U.S. Department of the Treasury released on Wednesday updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding allowable expenses through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). Kentucky received $1.7 billion from the fund, which was adopted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) worked to secure an initial allotment of $300 million of the amount Kentucky received from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. The local government portion is split among cities and counties, and each city can request reimbursement up to the maximum amount allowed based on population.
The updated FAQs allow the use of funds to meet match requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if the FEMA money is COVID-related. FEMA still must determine your community’s eligibility according to federal emergency management law.
The FAQs clarify that states and local governments may distribute funds to nonprofits that provide COVID-related assistance to the public. Funds provided to nonprofits, private businesses or individuals must be used to respond to the public health emergency. Cities cannot provide per capita payments to residents without assessing individual need within the community. In other words, the government cannot provide individual stimulus checks to all city residents and get reimbursed.
Treasury also allows states and local governments to seek reimbursement for some tourism-related expenses resulting from the pandemic. However, only marketing materials to promote resumption of activities and reopening procedures qualify. Cities cannot be reimbursed for costs associated with developing a long-term tourism plan or infrastructure.
Previous guidance determined the entire payroll cost of an employee whose time is substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency is eligible for reimbursement. If preferred, the employer may track time spent by employees related to COVID-19 and apply payments on that basis. The government would need to do so consistently within departments, and only payroll costs incurred through December 30, 2020, qualify.
The Kentucky League of Cities is continuing to work with Kentucky’s federal delegation to secure direct federal aid for cities and liability protections from COVID-related lawsuits.