On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state government’s plan to use federal funds to help small counties across the Sunshine State.
DeSantis said the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) will send $1.275 billion from the coronavirus stimulus package the White House and Congress agreed to at the end of March to counties with less than 500,000 residents.
“The United States Treasury previously disbursed over $2.472 billion in funding to all counties whose populations exceed 500,000 in Florida. Using a phased approach, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) will distribute funds to the remaining counties, beginning with an initial disbursement of 25 percent of each county’s allocation,” the governor’s office noted.
“Starting in March when we initiated our response to COVID-19, we knew that the only way to keep Floridians safe was to work closely with our partners at the local level,” said DeSantis. “As we have reopened in a safe, smart, step-by-step way, we have had local support at every juncture. I’m proud that today, we are able to provide funding back to these counties, so that they can really begin their recovery from this virus. We thank President Trump and our federal partners for providing this relief to Florida.”
“From the beginning of this administration, we have shown our commitment to cutting red tape and getting funding out the door, as demonstrated by paying out more than $2.4 billion in hurricane recovery funding since January 2019, and more than $450 million since March 15,” said FDEM Director Jared Moskowitz. “Throughout our COVID-19 response, we have once again used every available resource to keep Floridians safe and support our local partners. We are ready to hit the ground running on this CARES Act funding, which we know will be a critical resource to Florida’s recovery.”
County governments must sign a funding agreement with FDEM agreeing to distribute the funds on expenditures covered by the CARES Act and repay the state government “any portion of the disbursed funds that is unused, or is not utilized in accordance with the CARES act stipulations.” Counties will have to send quarterly reports to FDEM. If counties want more funds, they will have to petition FDEM for them.
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