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CARES funding going out to counties, cities

The federal government this year passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. It is the legislation that put more money into the pockets of furloughed workers and included the $1,200 checks sent out to individuals. The act also included federal dollars sent to states and local governments. All is intended to help people and governments weather the economic effects of the pandemic.

Local governments in Minnesota are eligible to receive $841 million. But long after most people had received their $1,200 checks, Minnesota cities and counties were still waiting. Why? Legislators couldn’t agree on how it should be distributed. In the special legislative session that ended last week, Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the House carried out a long debate during the special session over how to distribute the funds, and whether more funding should be added to the bill.

On Thursday, Gov. Walz agreed to distribute the funds according to a formula agreed to by a late legislative negotiation. So $841 million will be going to local units of government, and another $12 million will be allocated to food shelves throughout the state.

Brown County will get a little over $3 million, according to the formula announced Thursday. Cities in Brown County will receive around $1.5 million, with New Ulm receiving a little over a million of that.

The CARES Act requires that payments may only be used to cover costs incurred due to the public health emergency, were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved for the state or local government, and were incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.

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