The Elk Grove City Council on July 22 unanimously adopted a resolution establishing an expenditure budget for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security (CARES) Act funding allocated to the city from the state of California.

With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and stay-at-home orders leading to high unemployment rates last March, the federal government passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act to assist those affected during this economic fallout.

The state Budget Act of 2020 authorizes the Department of Finance to allocate funding to address the public health and safety impacts of COVID-19. It was the intent of the state legislature through this budget to offer flexibility in the allocation of CARES Act funding.

A $500 million portion of that money was allocated to California cities.

With populations determining the total amount that each city would be allocated, based on Elk Grove’s population, it will receive $2.1 million.

Under federal law, these funds must be spent by the end of this year, and can only be used for COVID-19 response costs incurred from March 1 through Dec. 30.

As part of its agreement to receive this funding, the city will report on its related expenditures and summarize any regional collaboration and non-duplication of these efforts within the region by Sept. 1.

In the event that the city has any unspent funds by Oct. 30, it must return those funds, unless it receives an extension from the Department of Finance, based on reported expenditures.

The city’s staff has already analyzed both COVID-19-related expenditures that occurred from March 1 through June 30, and anticipated COVID-related expenditures from July through December.

A combined total from those analyses show that the city is aligned to be eligible and qualify for the entire $2.1 million allocation.

Among the categories that are eligible for CARES Act budgeting are Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance, public safety regular time and benefit costs for time associated with COVID-19, and employee leave and workers’ compensation.

With a total request budget of $1 million within these expenditure categories, the city has

already incurred a total of $720,000. The city expects to incur another $280,000 through the remaining portion of the grant period.

In the council’s approval of the CARES Act funding budget, they supported the city’s staff recommendation to dedicate $1.1 million to community program funding.

Within that category, the city plans to assist the Great Plates Delivered program, the Elk Grove Homeless Assistance Resource Team’s homeless meal support program, nonprofit emergency funding needs and small business grants.

To ensure that the city’s full CARES Act allotment is spent, the city plans to continue monitoring its COVID-19 response-related expenditures.

Shay Narayan, the city’s budget manager, described the impact that the city would experience if it did not approve or spend its entire CARES Act allotment.

“Not accepting the grant and not using it for COVID-19 eligible expenses that the city has and is expected to incur would result in a negative impact to the General Fund of $1 million,” he said.

Council Member Darren Suen expressed his appreciation to Narayan and the city’s staff for its work to prepare their recommendations for this budget.

“I just want to thank Shay and staff for planning accordingly,” he said. “It would be good to be able to supply some help to our businesses, nonprofits,” he said.