Loudoun County is set to receive another $36 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act money to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The county received its first major infusion on June 1, passing a little more than $6 million along to Loudoun towns. The rest of the funding was split among COVID-19 efforts like purchasing personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting county buildings, the costs of extensive teleworking among county employees, and supporting Loudoun nonprofits. It also went into Loudoun’s Business Interruption Fund to make grants to local small businesses affected by the pandemic.
Statewide, the commonwealth with distribute $644.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to local governments in its second round of CARES Act aid to localities. Virginia received approximately $3.1 billion as its share of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. The total $1.3 billion local share is split up among localities based on population.
“Virginia was one of the first states to provide such a large share of its federal aid directly to local governments,”stated Governor Ralph Northam. “We are committed to making sure localities of all sizes get the assistance they need to respond to COVID-19 and keep Virginians safe during these unprecedented times.”
The money must be spent on expenses incurred from the pandemic since March 1, not accounted for in the county’s last budget, and must be spent by the end of the year. It cannot be used to fill gaps in the county’s budget due to sinking tax revenues.
To receive the funding, Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), County Administrator Tim Hemstreet and Treasurer Roger Zurn must certify that the money will be spent according to federal rules. The county government must also complete a survey on how it has spent and plans to spend that money.
Randall said she would like to put more of that money into supporting local businesses and COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.
“We really have not had a testing site in western Loudon County, and we haven’t had a testing site in the Sterling area,” Randall said. She added: “I feel like we’ve covered a lot of what nonprofits need. But there are still a lot of business that are still hurting even though we’re in Phase Three. People are not coming back as fast as we would have wanted them to come.”
In addition, she said, she will speak with county staff members about the county’s rental assistance program.
“That’s a big one, because we don’t want people to get evicted from their homes in this time,” she said.
Any action with the money will have to wait until September; the Board of Supervisors will have to vote on what to do with that money, and does not usually meet in August.