This week, RCRC submitted a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) urging the inclusion of direct federal funding to smaller counties on the forthcoming coronavirus (COVID-19) response bill. Specifically, RCRC urges the inclusion of direct stabilization funding to localities with populations under 500,000, or to lower the threshold for direct funding through the Coronavirus Response Fund, of which there are more than 30 of California’s 58 counties. RCRC’s letter to Speaker Pelosi can be accessed here.

RCRC member counties believe that without targeted stabilization funding, counties will not be able to provide critical services to its residents who face enormous costs when responding to the current pandemic. The direct funding to smaller counties in future relief packages is essential and much-needed to keep California’s rural residents safe while stopping the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Also, during a White House Briefing call earlier this week, Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury Daniel Kowalski spoke about the implementation of CARES Act relief funds. He spoke at length about the specific mechanisms that states, counties, and local governments can use to receive the appropriated funds, specifically discussing the population threshold for eligibility. He stated that while Treasury is still “thinking through the current threshold requirement” of needing a population above 500,000 in order to be eligible, he eluded to a letter sent from the National League of Cities which called for an alternative interpretation of the statutes’ language. Mr. Kowalski added that Treasury is in the process of deliberating this alternative interpretation and will provide a final determination when the official guidelines are posted on their website shortly.