County to spend all $28 million of CARES Act Funds

The Indian River County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a spending plan for all $28 million it expects to receive from the federal CARES Act for COVID-19-related expenses by the end of the year.

County administrator Jason Brown told commissioners he recently learned from the feds that CARES Act money may be used to pay salaries of public health and public safety employees from March 1 through the end of this year.  That would free up $12.7 million from the county’s general fund to provide mortgage and rental assistance for residents and grants to small businesses and municipalities, starting in January.

The revised spending plan approved Tuesday calls for an additional $1,026,000 for the school district; $358,000 for the hospital district; and $271,000 for constitutional officers.

The changes would allow the county to receive reimbursement from the feds for its entire $28 million allocation.

The county has spent about $13.5 million of CARES Act money since last summer and now projects spending some $15.2 million more before the end of this year.

In January, a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent is due to expire, with no signs of a slowdown of the pandemic.

“I think there’s going to be a bigger crisis after the first of the year,” said commissioner Susan Adams.  “Let’s see who applies and see the proper way to expand that to see who we need to reach.”

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