Sammamish City Council Unanimously Votes “Yes” to the City Manager’s Recommendation to Seek Reimbursement of $2.9M in CARES Act Funding; Action Earmarks $2.9M Towards Continued COVID-19 Response into the Winter Months and 2021

Release Date: October 07, 2020
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October 7, 2020

Contact: communications@sammamish.us

 

Upon the recommendation of the City Manager and staff, the City Council unanimously voted last night to seek reimbursement of the $2.9M of CARES Acts Funds towards Eastside Fire & Rescue (EF&R)’s COVID-related expenses.

This action makes available $2.9M in the City’s budget (that would have been spent on the EF&R contract) to be dedicated to continued COVID-19 response, without the time restrictions associated with federal funds.  This will ensure the City of Sammamish is prepared in the event of a resurgence of the pandemic during the winter months.

Background

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) created the Coronavirus Relief Fund which provided $150 billion in direct assistance to states, territories, and tribal areas.  Washington State distributed over $400M to municipalities, of which the City of Sammamish was awarded $2.9M.

The funds can only be accessed on a reimbursement basis for eligible expenditures incurred between March 1 – November 30, 2020.

Eligible Expenses

Based on guidance from the Washington State Department of Commerce and the Department of Treasury, payroll expenses for public safety employees such as EF&R firefighters and emergency medical personnel are considered “substantially dedicated to COVID-19 response” and are considered a “substantially different use” than from the budgeted expense.

Commerce was unequivocal in affirming that budgeted EF&R payroll expenses are an eligible use of CARES funds as they meet the criteria established by the Department of Treasury.

Benefits

This strategy enables the City to continue providing financial support from its general fund to the community beyond November 30th.

With indications that there will be a second wave of COVID-19 infections as we head into the winter months, this strategy ensures longer-term funding is available to support residents, non-profits and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

COVID-Related Expenditures to Date

To date, the City has spent over $1M on COVID-19 response and recovery activities from its general fund, including:

  • Emergency support grants to non-profit organizations
  • Small business support grants
  • Expenditures incurred to support government operations such as teleworking equipment, space modifications, and PPE

The Emergency Manager will include a monthly tally on COVID-19 related expenditures when he provides his COVID-19 update to Council.

Additionally, the Communications team at the City of Sammamish will continue to report actions taken by the City Council on COVID-19 response on its website’s News tab.

Q&A on Connect Sammamish

Disinformation about COVID-19 is harmful to the community.

Sammamish residents with questions about COVID-19 and the City’s response are encouraged to ask the City directly on its Coronavirus information portal on Connect Sammamish: https://connect.sammamish.us/covid-19-updates.

Attachments

The full CARES Act Implementation Agenda bill is here.

The slides presented by staff to Council last night are here.