The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136), signed into law on March 27, 2020, created the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which provides $150 billion in direct assistance for domestic governments.
 
Eligible Purposes Section 5001(d) of the CARES Act provides the eligible purposes for which Coronavirus Relief Fund payments may be used. Specifically, it allows state and local governments to make payments for programs that:
 
  1. 1. are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19);
  2. 2. were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of the date of enactment [March 27, 2020] of this section for the State or government; and
  3. 3. were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on December 30, 2020.

 

The CARES Act stipulates that the $150 billion provided to the Coronavirus Relief Fund is allocated to governments in states, territories, and tribal areas as follows:

$139 billion is allocated for governments in the 50 states based on their populations (as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019), with no state receiving less than $1.25 billion.

Due to the $1.25 billion minimum allocation for states, every state with an allocation greater than the minimum amount receives a smaller allocation share (excluding amounts provided to tribal areas) than its share of the population. Most states with a minimum allocation amount, in contrast, have a larger allocation share than their population share.

Florida’s Allocation = $8.328 Billion or 6% of total funds set aside for states although its population is approximately 6.6% of the total U.S. population.

 

 

  

  

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The legislation provides that of each state allocation 55% is reserved for the state and 45% of the allocation is reserved for direct payments to eligible local government jurisdictions (that exceed 500,000 in population). However, if the 45% reserved for eligible local government jurisdictions is not completely distributed, any remaining balance of this sub-allocation reverts to the state, in addition to the original 55% reserved for use at its discretion.

 

Coronavirus Relief Fund assistance is generally provided to state governments. Local governments serving a population of at least 500,000, as measured in the most recent census data, may elect to receive assistance directly from Treasury. Such direct local assistance allocations reduce the allocation made to the state government (keeping the state allocation constant) and are equal to the product of:
  • the state or territory allocation amount;
  • the percentage of the state or territory population served by the local government; and
  • 45%

 

   

   

On June 10, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the State of Florida’s plan to disburse up to $1.275 billion in CARES Act funds to counties with a population below 500,000. Using a phased approach, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) will distribute funds to the remaining counties, beginning with an initial disbursement of 25% of each county’s allocation. Click here to view the allocation of funds by county.
 
In response to the Governor's disbursement of the CARES Act funds to counties, FAC President, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, issued the following statement:
 
"On behalf of the Florida Association of Counties and all of Florida’s counties, I’d like to thank Governor Ron DeSantis for distributing CARES Act funds to Florida’s small and midsized counties. This funding will help our counties as we respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. By putting these dollars directly into our communities, the Governor is ensuring our local economies, and thereby Florida’s citizens, can quickly rebound and thrive moving forward.”
 
On September 18, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the State of Florida’s plan for the second round of disbursement of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for counties with populations below 500,000. This second round of funding provides an additional $255 million, for a total of $574 million, to these 55 counties. Click here to view the allocation of funds by county. 

 

Phase 1
To receive the disbursement, county governments must sign a funding agreement with the Division of Emergency Management stating:
  • The County will use the fund disbursement on eligible expenditures as defined by the CARES Act, and related guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury;
  • The County agrees to repay the State of Florida any portion of the disbursed funds that is unused, or is not utilized in accordance with the CARES act stipulations; and
  • The County agrees to submit quarterly reports to FDEM detailing the expenditure of disbursed funds as well as projections of eligible expenditures.

The Division will send out a package of information including a funding agreement (once finalized), one-page summary about the program, and guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Once the county reviews and approves the agreement, a signed copy should be submitted through the grant management portal or emailed to FLCares@em.myflorida.com. Along with the agreement, the county should submit a designation of authority, if needed, that can be uploaded to the grant management portal or emailed to FLCares@em.myflorida.com.

In addition, counties will be asked to submit a quarterly report on expenditures incurred and projected spending with first report due September 30, 2020. A template will be provided by the Division at a later date. These reports will be submitted through the Division's grant management system. More info to follow.
 
Phase 2
The path forward for CARES Act fund disbursements for the 55 counties that DID NOT receive a direct allocation from the federal government is as follows:
  • Phase 2 disbursements will be for 20% of the overall, previously identified county allocations. Click here for the Phase 2 amounts.
  • All other disbursements beyond Phase 2 will be on a reimbursement basis.
  • Counties will be required to sign an amendment to their funding agreement. This will cover Phase 2 and the reimbursement. It will be accessed and signed via Salesforce just like what was done for Phase 1 and it will be available later today. Please ensure only 1 amendment per county is signed and that it is signed by the appropriate authorized individual.
  • In order to qualify for the Phase 2 disbursement, counties must:
    • Expend the first 25% allocation.
    • Report the expenditures in Salesforce. (Currently due 9/25).
    • Submit a spend plan outlining how the county intends to spend the 20% allocation and how the county will spend any funds they intend on accessing on a reimbursement basis. Submit plans to the FL Cares email address. Please clearly identify the county in the subject line of the email.
  • If the county has not yet expended all of the 25% allocation: once the county has expended the first 25%, please report in Salesforce and send an email to FLCares notifying FDEM that the county is now ready for Phase 2 funding.
  • For the reimbursement phase, the county will be assigned a grant manager who will work as a liaison to them and assist with submission of expenses and processing of reimbursements.