Governor Kim Reynolds has set aside $60 million in federal aid for eligible Iowa cities and $40 million for counties to cover pandemic-related expenses.
“These funds can be used to reimburse for expenditures such as Covid-19 medical supplies and equipment — PPE, sanitizing products, testing supplies and ventilators,” Reynolds says, “other Covid-19 expenses such as payroll costs for public health and public safety personnel, emergency staffing and overtime medical transportation.”
An additional $25 million in federal funds will be available for local governments to use as matching money for FEMA grants. Storm Lake Mayor Mike Porsch says city officials will have to deal with reduced tax revenue during the current budgeting year.
“I think I can not only speak for Storm Lake, but for every city and county in the state. This is going to be much appreciated,” Porsch says. “…As we go through our budgets here in this fiscal year, we’ll be having a reduced funding due to a reduction of the sales tax and hotel-motel taxes.”
Porsch and Clay County Supervisor Berlin Mathews joined Reynolds at her news conference yesterday. Mathews is president of the Iowa State Association of Counties and he says the pandemic has had a significant impact on county budgets.
“County budgets are really bare-bones budgets for necessities,” he says.
Mathews says a survey conducted by the Iowa State Association of Counties suggests county supervisors will have to find a way to cover “tens of millions of dollars” in pandemic-related expenses, so these federal funds are welcome. For example, Mathews says Clay County had to spend over $20,000 just to reopen county-owned buildings that were closed to the public this spring.