FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Arkansas cities, towns and counties are now able to apply for reimbursement for COVID-19 related funds through the CARES Act.
According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, a total of $150 million has been set aside by the state for this reimbursement, with half of it going to cities and towns and half going to counties in the state.
Scott Hardin with the DFA says this funding has been requested by many cities and counties since the pandemic first started.
One of those cities needing reimbursement is Siloam Springs.
Christina Petriches, Siloam Springs Finance Director said, “there’s a couple of benefits to doing this and one is our frontline responders their pay is eligible for reimbursement so that’s the low hanging fruit that a lot of cities are doing because they’ve already spent the money and more than that.”
“The payroll has very likely increased as they paid extra hours or overtime for local safety workers whether its EMTs or whatever the case may be they’re out of pocket quite a bit of money for that payroll,” said Scott Hardin, spokesman for the DFA.
Hardin said the reimbursement money is intended for not just payroll, but also personal protective equipment, technology improvements and other expenses for public employees.
For Springdale, that reimbursement will be up to $2.9 million. Mayor Doug Sprouse said the city will be able to use all of this money and maybe even more.
“This money can also be used in preparation so people can work more safely if they have to be here or work more effectively from home if we end up shutting down for some reason,” he said.
“These positions of your first responders have been dramatically altered so they’re spending much more of their day dealing with Covid issues than they normally would which certainly impacts your budget and how those salaries are paid,” Hardin said.
Hardin said while this money was highly requested by many, there is money set aside for some cities and counties that do not even know about it yet.
The deadline to apply for the reimbursement is November 16th.