TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Pima County has spent all of its CARES Act funding from the first stimulus bill.
Now, they’re hoping for more funds from the federal government. As the pandemic rages on, it costs more money to keep testing, contact tracing, vaccines and pandemic support afloat.
“It’s the counties that bare these responsibilities and we therefore we need to have that appropriate consideration when the money is distribute in the second CARES Act,” said Chuck Huckelberry, Pima County Administrator, at Tuesday’s Supervisors meeting.
A little more than $87 million was sent to the County in spring of 2020 during the first stimulus package.
More than $38 million of it was spent on contact tracing and COVID-19 testing, according to a memo, close to $33 million spent on county personnel like pandemic sick leave and efforts dedicated to the COVID-19 response. Another nearly $8 million was doled out to medical supplies and warehouse services—the rest is made up in chunks for eviction and utility assistance, small business support, sanitation and more.
As COVID-19 cases increase and vaccinations roll out, the Pima County Health Department estimates another $55 million is required to support vaccinations, testing, staffing and more at the current pace, and that will fund COVID-19 response until the end of June 2021.
“If not reimbursed, that would pretty much exhaust what we call the general fund’s ‘fun balance,’ and that was carried over from the previous year,” said Huckelberry.
Without more federal dollars, the county will have to foot this bill. It is expected they’ll get some funding from the latest stimulus package, but just how much is still unknown. They say no immediate county projects would be impacted, and they will not slow or halt the COVID-19 response.