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CARES Act spending deadline approaching

By December 30, local governments must use or lose federal relief aid
Posted at 9:22 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 09:46:26-05

PHOENIX — Arizona government leaders have less than a month to use or lose what's left of $2.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding.

Congress passed the CARES Act in March to assist the nation reeling from the financial impact of the pandemic. CARES Act funding must be spent by December 30 or returned to the federal government.

We'll ask him what is being done when it comes to pandemic relief in Arizona and if supports a local or nationwide stay-at-home order, as well as a nationwide or local mask mandate.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Phoenix City Council will decide how to reallocate more than $40 million each at meetings this week.

Maricopa County officials told ABC15 they expect to spend all that was previously allocated to in-demand programs like rental and utility assistance. The rental and utility programs already used $36 million of the county's $399 million in total relief funds provided by the CARES Act.

"They re-trained Head Start teachers and people in that part of the organization to be able to process all the applications that came in," said county spokesman Fields Moseley. "It’s thousands and thousands of months of rent that we’ve supplied people in the community."

The supervisors will vote this week whether to add additional funding to those programs which provide direct assistance to families.

The county also spent $25 million on schools.

"They called every single school district in the county, found out what their needs were, what their students need, and they ended up allocating almost 3,000 hotspots with a year's subscription," Moseley said.

According to this week's Phoenix council agenda, several funds won't be completely spent by the December 30 federal deadline.

Phoenix council members will vote Tuesday whether to spend $43.4 million to offset public safety expenses this month. City staffers concluded the general find savings could later be used for ongoing pandemic expenses and unfinished projects. Those unfinished projects include plexiglass safety shields for bus drivers, expanding Wi-Fi in public buildings, and a housing project for military veterans.

With Congress still debating the possibility of an additional $900 billion stimulus package, it's unclear when or how much more federal aid will be coming.