The state of Indiana is setting aside $300 million from its $2.4 billion share of federal relief aid to help local governments.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday during his press briefing that cities, towns and counties will be eligible for a certain portion of the funding based on population.
The $2 trillion federal economic stimulus package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act included $150 billion for state and local governments to use for expenses related to coronavirus response efforts. Distributions were based on population, with a minimum of $1.25 billion per state.
Indiana is receiving $2.4 billion from that pool of money, which comes on top of other federal programs in the stimulus package that are specifically targeted to education, disaster relief, the National Guard, public health agencies, unemployment and election administration.
The funding can be used for any necessary expenses that were incurred due to COVID-19 between March 1 and Dec. 30 and that weren’t accounted for in the state’s most recent budget.
It is up to state governments to determine how much of the funding trickles down to local governments.
Indianapolis is an exception to that rule, because the federal law required a portion of the state’s allocation to go to local governments with populations of 500,000 or more.
Indianapolis is receiving about $168 million that is separate from the state’s $2.4 billion, Indiana Office of Management and Budget Director Cris Johnston said.
Johnston said state officials believed allocating $300 million to local governments “was a good place to start.”
“We may adjust that,” Johnston said. “Because we really don’t know what the demands are for expenses on a local basis.”
He said local governments will be able to submit applications to the state to be reimbursed for COVID-19-related expenses. State officials are planning to issue guidance to local communities within the next week detailing how much funding each entity is eligible to receive and how to submit a claim for reimbursement.
Johnston said the state is using a reimbursement process because it is ultimately responsible for making sure the funds are used for the appropriate expenses.
The city of Indianapolis will not be eligible for any of the $300 million though, Johnston said, because it already received the automatic financial support through the CARES Act program.