State will disburse federal funding to communities seeking reimbursement for emergency costs beginning in July
SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced the State will expedite a portion of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars designated for local governments by the federal CARES Act. Through the Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (Local CURE) Support Program, the State will take steps to deploy $250 million to local governments in the coming months. The additional state relief funds will help local governments secure reimbursement on eligible costs associated with the emergency response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
We know that Illinois municipalities, counties, and local health departments have stepped up to take on significant costs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – costs no one could have planned or budgeted for,” said Governor Pritzker. “From the beginning of this crisis, my administration has worked steadfastly to provide assistance and support to the communities hit hardest by this virus. While there’s no question that more federal funds are needed to support vital local services like education, the Local CURE Program will provide much-needed relief for Illinois communities until an agreement is reached.”
In the coming weeks, DCEO will administer funds from the Local CURE program to reimburse units of local governments in nearly 100 counties across the state. In rules filed with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, DCEO has developed a per capita and needs-based formula for allocating the Local CURE funding.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted budgets for communities and businesses across our state—forcing many local governments to choose between making community investments and doing what needs to be done to sustain an emergency response,” said Michael Negron, Acting Director of DCEO. “Over the next several weeks, we will establish a rigorous process to ensure this critical funding is distributed equitably and expeditiously, helping those communities hit hardest by the virus sustain their response.”
More than eighty-five percent of the Local CURE Program’s funding will be distributed to municipalities, county governments, and certified local public health departments. Remaining funds will be released by application to other units of local government. The application-based allotment will prioritize local governments serving disproportionately impacted areas, or DIAs, low-income zip codes that have had a significant number of cases of COVID 19 among residents.
In addition to Local CURE funds, DIA communities will also receive additional assistance as part of recently launched community assistance programs, including the $540 million Business Interruption Grants (BIG) and $25 million Rebuild Distressed Communities programs.
Costs eligible for reimbursement are defined by the US Treasury and are those incurred due to the public health emergency response to the COVID–19 pandemic. These costs include public safety, public health, PPE materials, and more. In the coming weeks, DCEO will release a detailed process for local governments to submit eligible costs for review. Costs must be incurred since March 1, 2020 and may not be accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020.
“The local government response to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated unanticipated and significant expenditures to provide essential public health and safety services to protect Illinois residents,” said Joe McCoy, Executive Director of the Illinois State Association of Counties. “Local officials throughout the state greatly appreciate the work of the General Assembly and Pritzker Administration to provide significant funding through the Local CURES program. These critical funds are badly needed to help offset the costs to local governments associated with the emergency response.”
Only local governments outside Chicago-Cook and the collar counties will be eligible for Local CURES funding; Cook, DuPage, Will, Kane, and Lake counties have already received direct allocations Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars under the federal CARES Act.
“We appreciate the Governor and his Administration’s ongoing support during these unprecedented times for deploying programs from the Federal Cares Act to help those affected by the COVID,” said Jason Ashmore, President of the Southern Illinois Mayors Association and Mayor of Sesser. “We will continue to work with the Governor and his administration to address the economic shortcomings our communities and businesses have endured as a result from the COVID-19 virus.”
In a process that will begin as early as July, local governments will be able to make their claims and receive reimbursement on eligible expenses. Municipalities, counties, and local public health department allotments will be determined in rules. All other units of local government are being encouraged to review and submit for an application that will be made available on July 1 on DCEO’s website.
“As president of the Southwestern Illinois council of mayors we appreciate the work that governor Pritzker and the DCEO Are doing, to work with local municipalities throughout the state, to provide funding and reimbursement for cost incurred due to COVID-19,” said Mark Kupsky, President of the Southwestern Council of Mayors and Mayor of Fairview Heights. “As a local Mayor, all of our cities have incurred unplanned expenses Related to fighting this pandemic, so the funds provided by the cure allotment will help us with reimbursement of expenditures that our Cities have incurred.”
Since March, communities across Illinois have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19. A May 2020 report by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimates that local government revenues are down by $1.3 billion over last year. The Pritzker administration has worked over the past several weeks to marshal hundreds of millions for communities and businesses hit hardest by the crisis.
For more information on the statewide COVID-19 response, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov