County Commission’s special meeting addresses $46.9 million CARES Act funding plan

Editor’s Note: On the Agenda is a summary of high interest items to be decided on or discussed at upcoming local municipal meetings in Alachua County. 

A special Alachua County Board of County Commissions meeting on July 7th will secure plans for accepting and managing more than $11.7 million dollars awarded by the state.

The amount is an initial disbursement and it is 25 percent of the $46.9 million CARES Act funding available to Alachua County. 

The State of Florida Division of Emergency Management and Alachua County will enter an agreement that states that the county will have until December 30, 2020 to “cover costs that were incurred” by the COVID-19 pandemic or the funds “must be returned to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.”

According to the proposed contract the CARES Act created the Coronavirus Relief Fund and provided Florida with $8,328,221,072. Florida counties received 45 percent of the fund and the State received 55 percent.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury disbursed $2,472,413,692 of the funds directly to counties with a population in excess of 500,000 and the remaining balance of $1,275,285,790 was reverted back to the State from the local government allocation for the State to disburse to counties with populations less than 500,000, the contract states.

Funding for Alachua County is $46.9 million in total with the first disbursement of $11,736,482 going straight to the County and the balance will be available if needed as reimbursement to additional expenses caused by response to the pandemic.

The funds may only be used for:

* Expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19

* Expenditures that were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020

*Expenditures that were incurred during the period that being on March 1, 2020 and ending on December 30, 2020.

According to the agreement between the Alachua County and the State of Florida Division of Emergency Management, the funds must qualify as a necessary expenditure incurred due to the public health emergency.

Examples of Eligible Expenses according to the agreement are medical expenses, public health expenses, payroll expenses for public safety such as health care, human services and employees whose service was dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Also eligible are expenses associated with economic support and related expenses deemed reasonably necessary to the function of government.

The agreement addresses record keeping and possible future audit details, required quarterly reports detailing the status and progress of the expenditure of funds, repayments if funds distributed are deemed out of compliance with the fund purpose, contracting with small and minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms.

The CPA firm Carr, Riggs and Ingram of Gainesville will be contracted to identify, obtain and process sources of funding and/or reimbursements on behalf for the County and is charging discounted rates ranging from $85 to $230 hourly rates.

If approved at the special meeting, the resolution and budget amendment “will allow for the county to account and track the $11,736,482 in initial funds received.”

This is a virtual meeting. The public may attend virtually through Cox Channel 12, Facebook, and the County’s Video on Demand website. For meeting audio only, call 301-715-8592, and when prompted, use code 670 965 3024.The public may submit comments to the board through email (bocc@alachuacounty.us

See the agenda and kinks to supporting documents here

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