Aug. 7, 2020
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — In preparation for the Aug. 26 Board of Supervisors public hearing about the county’s use of federal CARES Act funding, Chesterfield is informing citizens about how the money may be spent in accordance with guidelines set by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The CARES Act established the Coronavirus Relief Fund to assist states and communities in overcoming challenges directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal dollars come with restrictions for how they may be spent. The public hearing will assist county leaders in further developing plans to allocate the funds in ways that best meet needs in the community while remaining within the strict guidelines.
“Though CARES Act funds come with many restrictions, good planning and public input will ensure that we apply the money in ways that best meet needs in our community and helps Chesterfield overcome an extraordinarily challenging time,” said Leslie Haley, chair of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.
Using the federal guidance provided, Chesterfield has identified six categories in which the money may be applied, including virus mitigation/public health, schools, food insecurity, business assistance, technology and community assistance. The money may not be used for recurring costs, revenue shortfalls or other expenses related to the normal day-to-day operation of government or schools.
Chesterfield’s allocation from the state equals approximately $61.5 million that have come in two equal payments since the start of the pandemic. States received CARES Act funding based on population. Virginia also used population to determine its distribution of the funds among local governments.
Chesterfield was not able to account for the funds in the budget leaders adopted April 22, but the money can cover COVID-19-related expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30, and the funds must be used by the end of the year.
Examples of how Chesterfield initially allocated some of the funds include personal protective equipment and protective barriers as the county worked to maintain public services. Funds have also been used to provide grants to businesses to help them weather the pandemic’s significant economic impact. Further planning includes exploring the use of CARES Act funding to support daycare facilities and a newly planned spatial day-support program in a handful of schools in an effort to assist citizens juggling the constraints of work and caring for children who will be learning virtually this fall.
County leaders are also expected to allocate CARES Act funds to assist schools in ultimately reopening to in-person learning, as well as possible heating and air-conditioning upgrades at schools to improve air quality.
For more details about how local governments may apply CARES Act funds, visit https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/state-and-local-governments. The Treasury also provides a detailed FAQ about the Coronavirus Relief Fund at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf.
For details about speaking during a Board of Supervisors public hearing, visit https://www.chesterfield.gov/1256/Public-Comment-Period.