Inside208

CARES Act Spending Agreement Reached

Posted on June 17, 2020 by Dene Westbrook

The Whitmer Administration and House and Senate leadership came to an apparent agreement this afternoon to begin spending more than $880 million of the state’s allocation of federal CARES Act stimulus funding.  Senate Bill 690 had originally passed the Senate with approximately $600 million in spending from the roughly $3 billion dollars that the state of Michigan was allocated earlier this year. The House Appropriations committee had proposed spending approximately $1.2 billion from those federal dollars when they moved the bill out of that committee two weeks ago.  Both the Senate and House versions included $100 million in first responder hazard pay premiums for use by local units of government. Following the House committee action, both legislative leaders and the Governor engaged in negotiations to come to an agreement on how to begin spending the state’s federal funding.

On Wednesday afternoon, the full House voted unanimously to send a substitute version of SB 690 H-3 back to the Senate for concurrence.  Following significant lobbying by the League, this new agreement provides substantial funding opportunities for local units of government and residents:

Water Utility Assistance

Includes $25.0 million for the department to reimburse water utility providers for providing bill forgiveness for arrearages and fees incurred by residential water customers during the COVID-19 state of emergency and for providing a 25% discount on the total water bill for eligible customers through the end of December 2020. Reimbursement for each arrearage would be capped at $700.

Gross

Federal

GF/GP

$25,000,000

25,000,000

$0

First Responder Hazard Pay Premiums

Includes $100.0 million for the payment or reimbursement of first responder hazard pay premiums provided to first responders who performed hazardous duty or work related to COVID-19. First responders would include law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, 9-1-1 operators, local unit of government corrections officers, airport public safety officers, and eligible personnel associated with ambulance operations. No more than $5.0 million would be awarded to any applicant, and the maximum reimbursement amount would be capped at $1,000 per eligible first responder.

 

Gross

Federal

GF/GP

 

$100,000,000

100,000,000

$0

Local Units of Government

Includes $200.0 million for reimbursing counties, cities, villages, and townships for eligible public safety and public health payroll expenditures under the federal CARES Act, Public Law 116-136.

Gross

Federal

GF/GP

$200,000,000

200,000,000

$0

Rental Assistance

Includes $60.0 million for the department to work with DHHS, the Judiciary, local community action agencies, and legal aid organizations to create a rental assistance program. Funding would be allocated as follows: not more than $4.0 million to legal aid organizations for legal services; not more than $4.0 million to local community action agencies for program case management staff and related costs; not more than $2.0 million for department administrative costs and to support a public awareness campaign; and remaining funding to pay for rent arrearages and rent subsidies to minimize evictions.

Gross

Federal

GF/GP

$60,000,000

60,000,000

$0

To access the $200 million of public safety and public health payroll reimbursement, local units of government will be required to report to the Department of Treasury by July 17, 2020, their eligible public safety and public health payroll expenses for the months of April and May 2020.  The Department is required to issue eligible payroll reimbursements by September 18, 2020 on a proportional basis if eligible submissions exceed the $200 million appropriation.  If the reimbursement requests are less than the $200 million allocation, Treasury is instructed to offer a second round of reimbursements utilizing eligible public safety and public health payroll expenses for the months of June and July 2020.

The bill now returns to the Senate for a final vote before moving to the Governor for her signature.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

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