Call to action is less than one month before important deadline for distribution of $51 million
Working to provide assistance to underlying jurisdictions dealing with the financial consequences of COVID-19, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced at a Schaumburg press conference the pressing need for local governments to apply for over $51 million of coronavirus relief by a September 30 deadline. This is part of a month-long push to make sure all eligible jurisdictions take the necessary steps to receive vital aid from Cook County.
“I am incredibly proud of the thoughtful and equitable process Cook County created to distribute millions of dollars in CARES Act money to underlying municipalities, but we need these local governments to fill out their paperwork in the next month to ensure much-needed aide is getting distributed,” President Preckwinkle said. “I am encouraging all local governments eligible for relief funds to submit their paperwork quickly to avoid leaving vital money on the table that can go to costs like PPE purchases and operational initiatives to facilitate return to work arrangements for the suburban municipalities.”
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 chose 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, Schaumburg, for example, has been allocated $556,426.86. Preckwinkle noted Schaumburg was one of the first municipalities to apply for and receive a relief check from Cook County and encouraged other areas to follow suit quickly.
“The application process for this relief money was straightforward and easy to navigate,” said Schaumburg Village President Tom Dailly. “The pandemic aid from Cook County will go a long way toward providing essential services for our residents. We all know these are exceptionally difficult times for all local governments. I would encourage others to visit the County’s website, ask questions and get their paperwork in before the deadline.”
Preckwinkle added that over the next month she will be visiting other areas to stress the importance of submitting applications and notices of intention to make sure relief money is allocated strategically to assist the most residents. If a municipality reports to Cook County that it anticipates spending less than its entire allocation, the County will reduce the subrecipient’s total allocation by the anticipated unused amount and direct that the unused portion be reallocated by Cook County to cover COVID-19 necessary expenditures where Cook County deems fit.
“Thank you to President Preckwinkle for her leadership during these unprecedented times," said Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison, of the 15th District. "This CARES Act funding is vital to helping municipalities that are reeling from the loss of revenue due to COVID-19. I’m proud that Cook County has prioritized equity in determining this funding to make sure we are responsive to those communities that have been hardest hit by this pandemic. I will continue to do outreach to the municipalities in my district to make sure they can receive these important resources.”
To date, Cook County has distributed approximately $1 million to Schaumburg and Oak Lawn. While Cook County has received 27 other applications which are in the process of being reviewed to ensure all expenses are eligible to be federal reimbursed, it is still waiting for responses from roughly 100 municipalities. Nearly $50 million that can still be claimed by eligible local governments.
“We will be sure to keep local governments and leadership updated with information regarding this process as we approach the September 30th deadline,” Preckwinkle said. “We have all been through an immensely difficult time. I know the potential these dollars hold to help our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic strain. I look forward to working with all of our municipalities to ensure they can access these resources and we can rebuild as One Cook County.”