Our government affairs team has spent countless hours urging Governor Brown and members of the Legislature to allocate funding to special districts through the Oregon Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). We were gravely concerned that special districts had not been considered for inclusion in resources already offered to corporations and other entities. We are excited to share that we have recently learned that special districts are eligible to seek reimbursement through the CRF. However, districts must act quickly as the deadline is Friday, May 29th.
Under the provisions of the $150 billion CRF in the CARES Act, the federal government sent $246.8 million directly to jurisdictions with populations over 500,000. This included Washington County, Multnomah County, and the City of Portland. Local governments (including special districts) who did not receive CRF funds directly from the federal government will now, as a result of the Governor and State Legislature’s action, be eligible for CRF funding. Special districts are included as units of local government for purposes of the Governor and Legislature’s decision to provide some of the state’s CRF funding to local governments.
The State of Oregon received $1.39 billion in CARES Act funds. On Friday, May 15th, the Legislature (via Emergency Board action) authorized $400 million in CRF funds to be allocated to local governments (including special districts). $200 million will be set aside to directly reimburse local governments (including special districts) for expenses they have incurred related to COVID-19; and $200 million will be used to continue covering costs related to personal protective equipment, testing, contact tracing, and isolation/quarantine.
The first phase of reimbursements will cover costs incurred between March 1 and May 15, 2020 for local governments (including special districts) outside Multnomah and Washington Counties. Eligible costs related to medical expenses, public health costs, payroll for employees dedicated to COVID-19, and expenses to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 measures will be prioritized.
Examples of Eligible Expenditures include the following:
I. Medical Expenses
A. Public hospitals, clinics, and similar facilities
B. Temporary public medical facilities
C. COVID-19 testing, including serological testing
D. Emergency medical response expenses
E. Telemedicine capabilities
II. Public Health Expenses
A. Communication and enforcement
B. Medical and protective supplies
C. Disinfecting public areas and other facilities
D. Technical assistance on COVID-19 threat mitigation
E. Public safety measures
F. Quarantining individuals
III. Payroll expenses for employees dedicated to COVID-19
IV. Expenses to facilitate compliance with COVID-19-measures
A. Food delivery to residents
B. Distance learning tied to school closings
C. Telework capabilities
D. Paid sick and paid family and medical leave
E. COVID-19-related expenses in county jails
F. Care for homeless populations
CRF resources are not allowed to replace lost government revenue.
CRF Guidance for State, Tribal, and Local Governments
How to Apply
Special districts interested in seeking reimbursement must complete the Federal Funding Certification and Request Forms by May 29, 2020. Funding requests (both the certification and request form) should be submitted to CoronavirusReliefFund@Oregon.gov. Please copy SDAO on your email at email@example.com.
Documents to be submitted for funding consideration:
Once this first round/first phase of funding is exhausted (estimated to be $50 million), we expect a second round of submissions to begin in July. We will continue to keep you informed as we learn of new information.