The County’s Chief Fiscal Officer yesterday presented to the Board of Supervisors a status update of the Coronavirus Relief Fund Revenue received by Sacramento County as of June 30, 2020.
What is the purpose of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, and how much funding did Sacramento County receive?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted on March 27, 2020, and with it the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to help stabilize state, local, and tribal budgets. The relief fund falls under the purview of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Sacramento County received $181 million from the CRF.
How did the County determine the use of Coronavirus Relief Funds?
The CRF Committee asked departments to identify expenses relating to the coronavirus and approved expenditures that meet the requirements of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
How much of the $181 million has been used as of June 30, 2020?
The County has spent $146.8 million to cover payroll costs for existing employees and services and $1.2 million in new or enhanced services to address the impact of COVID-19 for a total of $148 million.
Does that mean that departments who received funds for payroll costs receive additional funds or positions?
No. Departments that received CRF money for payroll costs received that much less in General Fund money. The County then used that General Fund money towards departments and services that are critical to the residents of Sacramento County.
What General Fund departments and services will avoid the budget and services cuts, due to the freeing up of General Fund money?
Departments such as Child Protective and Adult Protective Services; Health Services; Sheriff; Human Assistance; In-Home Supportive Services and homeless services.
Why is it important to fund those General Fund departments?
The County will receive approximately $170 million less in General Fund revenues in the last and current fiscal year, as a result of the pandemic.
These revenues fund critical social and health services from Child Protective and Adult Protective Services, Health Services (Public Health and Mental Health), Human Assistance, In-Home Supportive Services and homeless services.
Freeing up General Fund revenue that otherwise would have gone to payroll costs will allow the County to avoid significant budget cuts and maintain services for FY 2020-21 that the CRF money could not be used for.
Is covering payroll costs an appropriate use for CRF money?
Yes. The CARES Act does not allow the use of CRF money to backfill revenue losses directly, but CARES Act guidance clearly says that payroll costs for public safety and health, human services and similar employees can be used for CRF.
Has the use of the CRF money in this way prevented the County from using it to fight the pandemic?
No. All of the CRF funding requested by Public Health staff to deal with COVID-19 has been provided.
How has the remaining CRF been approved?
The remaining CRF money has been approved for services identified as needed by Public Health and other departments, including:
- COVID Testing
- Community-Based Testing
- Dine at Home Sacramento Programs
- Contact tracers
- Homeless Response Plan
- Business Navigators
- Project Roomkey
How will the County cover costs for services needed for the pandemic after the County’s CRF allocation has been fully spent?
The County will continue to work at the State and Federal level to obtain additional funding. The State budget commits a portion of the State’s CARES Act funding to local governments over and above the $181 million already allocated to Sacramento County. The County has received $5 million to date and has been allocated $25 million. Discussions at the Federal level also suggest there could be additional funding provided for testing and other services required to respond to the pandemic.
Are there other funds that the County is using to combat the pandemic besides CRF?
Yes, the County is utilizing a variety of state and federal funds besides the Coronavirus Relief Fund to cover costs incurred by the pandemic, so items that were not eligible for CRF may be eligible for those other state and federal funds.
For more information about the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Relief Fund, including a breakdown of spending as of June 30 for each category as specified by the U.S. Treasury, visit the County’s CARES Act Funding webpage.
For more information about COVID-19 in Sacramento County, including data, testing, public health orders, and other information, visit the COVID-19 website.