New Castle County is due to receive a multi-million dollar federal emergency funds package, and County Executive Matt Meyer says transparency will be his main focus as he decides where those funds should go.
More than $320 million in federal dollars will come to the county through the CARES Act, which provides funds for all states and any local government with a population that exceeds 500,000. New Castle County is the only Delaware county on the Department of Treasury’s official list of eligible local governments.
Meyer laid out his initial plans to distribute the funds through federal legislation designed to pump money into states and counties hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARES Act funding can only be expended in 2020 for COVID-19 related expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. The funds may not be used for any expenses that were previously budgeted or to replace lost revenue.
Meyer said his focus would be on providing financial support for first responders along with mitigating the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections while “putting our county back to work.”
When asked if the county would be using the funds to purchase PPE such as masks for restaurants, retailers and dentist’s offices, a spokesman said no decisions had yet been made.
The initial allocations announced by Meyer include:
- $5 Million to support municipalities in New Castle County – New Castle County will reimburse municipalities for their non-budgeted COVID-19 expenses. Funding will be available proportionate to population and will adjust as needs evolve in the coming weeks and months. New Castle County will share the process to request this funding with all of the municipalities, including the CARES Act guidance from the Department of Treasury on allowable expenses.
- $1 Million to support Volunteer Fire Companies – New Castle County will reimburse volunteer fire companies for non-budgeted COVID-19 expenses. The process and guidance will be similar to the process for municipalities.
- $10,000 Hero’s Pay – New Castle County will provide hazard pay to first responders in active status working during the Coronavirus crisis, including all full-time first responders who are employed by New Castle County government and Municipal governments located within New Castle County, as well as full-time career first responders who are employed by a fire company located within New Castle County.
Meyer says the allocation process is subject to legal review and the review of the Delaware COVID-19 Anti-Fraud Coalition.