Cities, counties to get a share of $1.25 billion federal COVID-19 package

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As the state prepares for the long haul with the coronavirus pandemic, local city and county governments will receive some money to help with COVID-19 costs.

Gov. Kristi Noem said in a morning news conference that cities and counties could receive up to a total of $200 million in reimbursable COVID-19 costs. The $200 million will come from the $1.25 billion the state received in federal CARES Act money.

City and county government expenses will need to meet federal and state guidelines for reimbursement, said Liza Clark the commissioner of the South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management.

The city of Sioux Falls can receive up to $41.5 million to reimburse it for COVID-19 expenses. Minnehaha County can receive up to $13 million in reimbursable costs and Lincoln County, up to $4 million.

Announcements about other larger cities and counties will be made Tuesday and Wednesday, Noem said.

“We recognize these dollars are for some very specific costs,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “We will use what we need. What we don’t, we won’t.”

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said COVID-19 costs include buying additional cleaning supplies as well as costs associated with housing for vulnerable people who had or were exposed to the coronavirus. COVID-19 costs also include the quarantining for inmates who may have COVID-19 to make sure jail staff and other inmates are safe, he said.

The county has been paying for those costs upfront and keep track of receipts for likely reimbursement from federal money, Milstead said.

Noem said the reimbursement is important as the state plans for the long term impact of COVID-19.

“We are not done with COVID-19,” Noem said

The real impact to businesses and possibly, the state is still to come. The impact of COVID-19 will be felt one to two years from now as businesses may still be struggling from the effect, Noem said.

The state needs to continue to plan for how it can help businesses with COVID-19 recovery, Noem said.

The $1.25 billion total state package and the $200 million from that to be distributed to cities and counties can help ensure that governments can provide needed services to their residents, Noem said.

While so far, the state sales tax revenue is better than expected, Noem said.

Still, the state does not want to make “draconian cuts to the budget,” Noem said.

Noem also stressed that more flexibility with the $1.25 billion is needed so that the state could apply the money to lost sales tax revenue if needed.

Clark and Noem also said the U.S. Treasury continues to make changes in the guidelines for the CARES Act money. The state will be keeping cities and counties notified of changes.

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