Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday nearly $300 million will be awarded from the state’s federal stimulus funding to local governments that did not receive direct distributions under the CARES Act.
“Cities and counties are on the front line of fighting this pandemic, especially our public health jurisdictions,” Inslee said in a news release from his office. “This funding will help our local partners across Washington meet the needs of their communities as we work together to defeat the virus. These vital resources can be used to cover critical expenses arising from the COVID-19 emergency, including isolation and quarantine sites, staffing and the procurement of medical supplies and equipment for health care providers and first responders.”
Funds will be provided to cities and counties with populations under 500,000 that were ineligible to receive direct funding under the CARES Act. The city of Seattle and King County received funds under the CARES Act. Specific allocations will be released in the coming days. Each county will receive a minimum distribution of $250,000 and each city will receive a minimum distribution of $25,000 from the state.
Local leaders representing Washington’s cities and counties responded to Inslee’s announcement.
“For the past two months, county elected officials and staff have been laser-focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting the public health of our residents,” said Eric Johnson, executive director of the Washington State Association of Counties. “Washington’s 39 counties and 35 local health jurisdictions appreciate Gov. Inslee’s leadership. The governor’s prompt release of federal coronavirus relief funds to counties will help us continue to deliver critical services necessary to respond and recover from this public and economic crisis across the state.”
“The health of our state’s economy depends on the local economies of our 281 cities and towns,” said Peter King, CEO of the Association of Washington Cities. “We recognize that the road to recovery will be long, and we are grateful to the governor for providing these vital funds to help offset cities’ costs for emergency response. Cities have been at the forefront of keeping their communities safe and protecting public health.”
Under state law, the Legislature must be notified about the awards and be given 10 days to respond before the distributions are made. During that time, the state will work with local governments to get the agreements in place so they can put the money to work as soon as possible.