Clinton Receives Balance of Federal and State COVID Funds
Clinton has received an additional $124,540 from the federal and state governments for expenses incurred between March 1 and June 30, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money was disbursed through the state’s Municipal Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is meant to aid towns with pandemic-related expenditures including public health and personnel-related expenses. The money has already been received, according to Town Manager Karl Kilduff.
At a Jan. 6 meeting at which the Town Council voted to approve accepting the funds, Kilduff explained that the money is actually part of a funding from the federal government as part of the CARES Act that was passed under the first federal COVID-19 relief bill. The state money is meant to refund money that a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement sent to the town in 2020 didn’t cover.
Kilduff said that in the fall the town received $39,467.83 from FEMA and the rest of the money was recalculated based on a formula used by the state to determine what additional money is allotted to local governments.
The money is meant to reimburse the town for expenses related to the pandemic. The virus caused the town to rework many aspects of normally routine government function in order to allow town business to carry on as safely as possible. Personal protective equipment was needed for first responders, plexiglass screens were required at places where staff would have contact with the public, and investments had to be made in the IT department to support people working remotely. There were also staffing costs put on the first responders and public Works Department in town.
The reimbursement is no doubt good news, but anyone hoping the money will guarantee a lower town budget being proposed for the 2021–’22 fiscal year will have to wait and see.
“The funding has already been received by the town. Since the funding was reimbursement for one-time expenses, it does not have a direct impact on the next budget. Like everyone, we have to look at how business will be conducted in a post-pandemic world and what changes become permanent,” Kilduff said.
There will be no more funding available under the CARES Act, but according to Kilduff, it’s possible that more funding will be available in the future.
Regarding “future funding for added COVID expenses—and we certainly hope there won’t be more—the FEMA declaration for the pandemic was extended out to 2023. It could be a resource of partial reimbursement for other additional expenses, if incurred,” said Kilduff.