NACo urges Senate to consider county governments in stimulus package
After Senate Democrats blocked the movement to pass a $1 trillion dollar relief package to help communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Association of Counties (NACo) is urging federal leaders to consider local governments in the legislation.
The organization is asking the senators to ensure America’s 3,069 county governments are eligible for the State Stabilization Fund and other essential supplemental federal aid resources, according to NACo materials.
“Counties are on the front lines of responding to the coronavirus pandemic,” NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase said in a statement. “We are investing huge sums in immediate public health and public safety needs, and at the same time, we will be experiencing massive declines in revenue.”
Over 500 counties have declared a state of emergency to activate additional funding, streamline procurement processes and make resources more flexible. Across the board, counties are expecting to withstand significant financial losses associated with the pandemic. According to NACo materials:
- Los Angeles County estimated costs of $290 million over the course of six months. It has also estimated that 50 of the 88 cities within the county will face additional total response costs of roughly $145 million.
- Clark County, Nev., has early estimates of $1.08 billion. This number includes unbudgeted impacts to the county hospital, emergency services, human services, aviation and lost revenue for the duration of FY20 and for FY21. This number also includes two pay periods (30 days) of additional staff costs.
- Harris County, Texas has already incurred nearly $43 million of expenditures and expects to continue to invest nearly $11 million each month. The county is investing in its county hospital district, public health services, sheriff’s department, public works department, among others. These estimates do not include lost revenue and productivity, nor do they include additional overtime for peace officers, which could amount to nearly $2 million per week.
“In counties across the nation, already strained budgets are facing extreme fiscal pressure as we work daily to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Chase added. “Now more than ever, we need a strong partnership with the federal government to address this crisis.”
The senate is scheduled to vote on the revised stimulus package at 1 p.m. today, according to CNN. NACo is urging county leaders to call their federal representatives to ask them to consider county government in the bill.
Additionally, NACo has launched a coronavirus information hub that tracks response efforts and a map showing county and state emergency declarations.Click here to view this resource.