Working to provide assistance to underlying jurisdictions dealing with the financial fallout of COVID-19, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Wednesday announced at a Berwyn press conference the County’s plans to award over $51 million of coronavirus relief to local governments.
“We have created a consistent, thorough and equitable process to distribute millions of dollars in CARES Act money to underlying municipalities for direct coronavirus-related costs like PPE purchases and operational initiatives to facilitate return to work arrangements for the suburban municipalities” Preckwinkle said. “Developing an enormous grant program from the ground up with little guidance from the Federal government has been an giant undertaking and we are pleased to start getting money to our towns, cities and villages.”
Cook County received approximately $429 million from the U.S. Treasury from the CARES Act. Under the Act, units of local government with a population exceeding 500,000 are eligible to receive this funding and may distribute these funds to municipalities under this threshold for direct expenses related to coronavirus. Per the CARES Act, these funds are however not eligible for loss of revenues many local jurisdictions are facing and only authorized for direct COVID-19 expenses. Cook County has chosen to allocate $51 million of this relief among the suburban municipalities located within Cook County.
Allocations to each municipality were determined through an equitable lens, with factors that included, but that were not limited to, immediate needs of the municipality to respond to the pandemic, municipal population, municipal median income and municipal public health statistics. It is important to note that each municipality must apply for this funding allocation and such allocation will be contingent on eligible cost reimbursement. Under this equitable methodology, Berwyn, for example, has been allocated $788,351.
“COVID-19 hit Black and Latinx communities in Cook County the hardest. The equitable lens used to provide much-needed funding to those communities was essential. President Preckwinkle and my colleagues on the County Board understood our responsibility to distribute resources that reflected the needs of the most impacted communities,” said Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson.
"We are thankful for President Preckwinkle’s hard work to create an equitable model to distribute relief funding," said Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller. “Local municipalities throughout our district have incurred a great deal of costs related to the pandemic and this CARES Act money will be helpful covering these expenses.”
“I appreciate President Preckwinkle’s commitment to equity and creating a fair system that can help the residents of the 15th district,” said Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison. “This pandemic has been hard on our district and we are grateful for this useful and timely relief funding.”
“This is a thoughtful plan to equitably distribute relief funds to local governments across Cook County,” said Cook County Commissioner John P. Daley. “These are challenging times for local governments who are feeling the financial strain of this pandemic and I know this aide will be incredibly useful in supporting their COVID-19 response efforts.”
Additional information on CARES Act distribution including application guidance and answers to frequently asked questions are available at https://www.cookcountyil.gov/service/cares-act-information-local-governments.