City, county to hold joint meeting on COVID-19

State reimbursements lag

County meeting vaccine shortage preview

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The City of Tucson and the Pima County Board of Supervisors will hold a joint virtual meeting on Friday, Feb. 21 to discuss issues with the state’s response to the coronavirus.

On the table for the rare meeting are all issues related to the pandemic. Mask mandates, mandatory curfews, business closures, testing, vaccine rollout and others.

But the one likely to garner most of the attention is state reimbursements for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

The federal CARES Act gave the state $4 billion of which about half was for specific purposes, and the other half to be used at Governor Doug Ducey’s latitude.

While Pima County and Tucson have spend tens of millions of dollars for testing and vaccination sites, they have yet to be reimbursed by the state, even after submitting a long series of requests.

“Both the City of Tucson and Pima County face the dilemma of having to start using our general funds to deliver testing and vaccinations,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, who called the meeting.

Those are funds which are used to pay police, fire, park services, garbage pickup and other essential services.

If both jurisdictions can find common ground, it’s hoped they can jointly exert pressure on the state to loosen the purse strings, money which both feel they are entitled by the CARES act.

“It’s time to understand we are a region,” said the chair of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bronson, who represents District 3. “And while we definitely have our differences, there are some things we all want to accomplish so let’s start the conversation.”

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