Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced July 20 that an additional $115 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds will be made available to local governments to offset costs they have incurred while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This pandemic has required a high level of coordination and support across all levels of government to ensure local needs are met and the health and wellbeing of Tennesseans are protected,” Lee explained. “The Financial Stimulus Accountability Group has provided another round of funding as we work to reduce any financial barriers in COVID-19 response.”
The Tennessee Local Government Reimbursement Program is in addition to the $210 million in grants that the General Assembly approved to be included in the state’s 2021 budget for the purpose of being distributed to county and municipal governments.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our local governments with unique challenges specific to the needs of their people,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, who is a member of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group, said. “Giving local governments control over how to spend these dollars maximizes efficiency and ensures this money is deployed in the most effective way possible. As we adjust to the new normal of living and working with COVID-19, it is important that local governments have the resources they need to attack the virus and address the issues it creates.”
House Speaker Cameron Sexton, who is also a part of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group, said that by directing the additional funds to local governments, they can ensure that the needs of local communities will be met effectively.
“Covid-19 related decisions and expenses whether in healthcare, education, or in other areas will be with us for the foreseeable future,” Sexton said. “I appreciate Gov. Lee, Lt. Gov. McNally, and our members for their partnership and commitment as we continue identifying solutions and working with all Tennesseans to address both our emerging needs, and those that will still remain after the pandemic.”
As for White County, Director of Finance Chad Marcum said more details are needed as the process for receiving funds and who is eligible for those funds is not clear yet.
“The governor’s additional appropriation for COVID-19 response was just released [on July 20],” Marcum explained, adding that White County will most certainly apply for whatever funds they are eligible to receive. “We are monitoring the process for application of these funds and how they may be used in conjunction with the allowable expenditures under FEMA’s emergency declaration for which White County has already applied.”
The Financial Stimulus Accountability Group who has approved the newest round of grants marked for local governments is a bi-partisan group including Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Senator Raumesh Akbari, Senator Bo Watson, Representative Harold Love, Representative Pat Marsh, Comptroller Justin Wilson, and Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley.