Paradise Valley officials have accepted about $1.7 million in federal funds to reimburse and cover costs incurred due to COVID-19.
The funds are earmarked to go to police salaries, which will free up allocations in the town’s budget for other needs.
In addition to the coronavirus relief funds, the town is applying to be reimbursed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency on a quarterly basis.
At Town Council’s most recent meeting on June 25, Chief Financial Officer Douglas Allen presented the municipal share of federal funds stemming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security --- CARES --- Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27.
Through the CARES Act, a Coronavirus Relief Fund was created and appropriated $150 billion to be used to make payments for specific uses to states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories and tribal governments.
Initially, Arizona received $2.8 billion, which was dispersed to: Maricopa County; Mesa; Phoenix; Pima County; Tucson and the state. The AZCares Fund was then created to provide funds to local jurisdictions with less than 500,000 population.
Through the AZCares Fund, the Town of Paradise Valley will receive $1,680,424, Mr. Allen says.
These funds can be used for public health and safety salaries, and employee-related expenses and costs incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30. Paradise Valley is looking to use them for police officers, 911 services and contractual fire services.
“These funds free up, essentially, other allocations in the police department,” Mr. Allen explained. “These funds go into the police department to pay for salaries, and that frees up that allocation. The recommendation is to use it to off-set reduced revenues, which we’ve talked about extensively, and then re-examine when revenues rebound.”
Costs for overtime, hazardous duty pay and COVID-19 specific training and personal protective equipment should be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement, Mr. Allen noted.
The FEMA funding is a reimbursement for actual costs incurred as a result of a declared disaster. This money is not a grant, and is up to 75% reimbursed of eligible costs, Mr. Allen said, suggesting the town apply on a quarterly basis.
Because the local disaster is still ongoing, there is no known deadline to apply and the allowable costs is also unknown, Mr. Allen said.
During the council’s business meeting they unanimously approved on consent two resolutions to go forward with the emergency funding.
Councilwoman Ellen Andeen asked Mr. Allen if there was any downside to accepting the AZCares Fund money.
“When it comes to federal funding, typically there’s strings attached in some fashion so you want to be mindful of what those are --- we don’t see those in this one, it’s coming through pretty clean,” Mr. Allen said.
“The only down side I would see is we might have the single audit required. We’d be looking at about $3,000 in audit fees, whic hten we can charge up to, probably, FEMA because it’s disaster related. So we don’t see a down side related to it.”
Mr. Allen pointed out several Arizona cities and towns are applying for these funds right now.
Town Manager Jill Keimach issued a thank you to the recovery team that’s been working on grants and re-imbursement funds for the town.
“This team is really getting into the details of not only getting grant funds, but also working to try and get every possible thing we can, that we’re spending related to COVID-19, reimbursed,” Ms. Keimach said.
“We’re still doing everything we can to bring in additional funds that we have been taxed with doing since COVID-19. We’re trying to keep us whole as an agency.”