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Front Page » Healthcare » Miami-Dade has spent only sliver of its coronavirus funds

Miami-Dade has spent only sliver of its coronavirus funds

Written by on July 14, 2020
  • www.miamitodayepaper.com
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Miami-Dade has spent only sliver of its coronavirus funds

Miami-Dade spent nearly $153 million through June 30 on coronavirus-related programs, according to Deputy Mayor Ed Marquez, who says the county has well over six times that amount to spend this year.

How much of that money will go to the 34 municipalities here remains to be seen, however.

During an online presentation last week for Miami-Dade commissioners, Mr. Marquez, fellow Deputy Mayor Jennifer Moon and Mayor Carlos Giménez broke down the county’s $941 million allotment through the CARES Act and other federal relief funds.

The county also can apply for FEMA reimbursements of “no set dollar amount” until Sept. 23, Mr. Marquez explained, although that deadline could be extended.

“We’re estimating lost revenues between this fiscal year and next fiscal year totaling around $267 million, so we’re going to be very diligent about applying our eligible Covid-19-related expenses to these funding sources,” he said. “We’re going to push the envelope in that regard, because we do need to make up for lost revenues throughout our operating departments.”

Of Miami-Dade’s specific federal funding set-asides, $474 million is from the Coronavirus Relief Fund and is already “sitting in our bank account earning a little of interest,” he said. It must all be spent or returned by Dec. 30.

That money, as well as roughly $467 million from other funding sources, has to go toward supporting existing public and private operations and public safety here. None can be spent to build or expand.

“Every grant dollar that we receive has strings attached to it,” Mr. Marquez said. “All these grant dollars are, one way or another, connected to the financial impacts this community is having because of this pandemic situation.”

Federal monies either already distributed or earmarked for Miami-Dade include:

■$474 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

■$222.5 million from the Federal Transit Administration.

■$207 million in CARES Act airport grants.

■$10.7 million from Emergency Solutions Grant Covid-19 Response Round 2.

■$7.8 million in Community Development Block Grants.

■$6.6 million from the Head Start for Summer Programs.

■$3.9 million from the Homeless Emergency Solutions Grant Program.

■$3.5 million from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

■$1.8 million from the 2020 CARES Act Election Fund.

■$1.4 million from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program.

■$1 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

■$562,251 in Older Americans Act funds.

■$330,252 from the Provider Relief Fund.

■$117,000 from the Emergency Management Performance Grant Program.

■$43,408 in supplemental funding from the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act Program’s Coronavirus Aid Relief and economic Security Act.

Based on population, Florida has gotten $8.3 billion through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, part of the $2 trillion CARES Act that Congress approved. The state has kept 55% of that allocation while distributing funds to counties, also based on population. Miami-Dade, the largest county by that metric, got $474 million.

Mr. Marquez, the county chief financial officer, said his department recommends keeping $339 million to support countywide operations and programs while distributing the remaining $135 million to municipalities.

Cities here, which cannot receive direct aid through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, encompass more than half the county population. Under Mr. Marquez’s formula, they’d receive just 29% of the funds. Hialeah would get $20.7 million. Miami Beach would get $7.9 million.

The county’s larger cut reflects countywide expenditures that cross municipal lines, he said, adding that cities should be “actively seeking” their own FEMA reimbursements for public health and safety expenditures.

“Our police officers are patrolling beaches. We have our communication department answering calls from the entire public. We have been distributing meals countywide,” he said. “So, automatically, we want to take 50% right off the top. This is less than what the state retained when it disbursed monies to the county.”

The $474 million from the relief fund breaks down this way:

■$135 million for municipalities.

■$70 million in grants, to be distributed over three phases, for local businesses.

■$70 million in reserves for the “next wave” of the virus here.

■$40 million for contact tracing and testing.

■$45 million for operating costs through Dec. 30

■$25 million for the county Revolving Loan Fund for Small Businesses.

■$23 million for operations through June 30.

■$20 million for the United Wy.

■$15 million for “basic needs”

■$15 million for senior meals.

■$10 million for the Emergency Rent Assistance Program.

■$4 million for bulk food.

■$2 million for Career Source.

Because the county will distribute the grants to municipalities, the county – not the cities – is responsible for securing all necessary proof that every dollar was spent for approved purposes.

Mayor Giménez said that stipulation “really concerns” him.

“It means that if the cities don’t spend the money the right way, it’s not the cities on the hook; we’re on the hook,” he said. “We also have to set up some other way to help people so that, if the cities don’t spend their money fast enough, we can get this out to the people. I sure as heck don’t want to send one penny back to Washington. Our people are suffering enough.”

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