Gilbert, Chandler to receive more than $29 million each in relief funds from state

Gov. Doug Ducey announced relief aid to municipalities including Gilbert and Chandler at a May 27 press conference. (Community Impact staff)
Gov. Doug Ducey announced relief aid to municipalities including Gilbert and Chandler at a May 27 press conference. (Community Impact staff)

Gov. Doug Ducey announced relief aid to municipalities including Gilbert and Chandler at a May 27 press conference. (Community Impact staff)

Gilbert and Chandler will be among the local governments receiving coronavirus relief and recovery dollars as part of a plan unveiled May 27 by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Among nearly $600 million in funding, the plan includes $441 million in direct, flexible funding to local cities, towns and counties that did not receive direct funding earlier this year from the federal government.

Gilbert will receive $29.17 million and Chandler $29.98 million, based on their 2019 populations.

“That money can only be used on public safety-related expenses,” Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said in her weekly video message May 27. “I will be working directly with our council to ensure that we are using those dollars so that they can meet the needs of our community now and in the future.”

Said Ducey: “Our office has met with mayors and county leaders to hear directly how COVID-19 is impacting their communities, and this plan delivers for them. It maximizes flexibility and prioritizes getting dollars quickly to where they’re needed most.”

The plan allows cities, towns and counties that did not receive direct funding from the U.S. Treasury as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, to receive a direct allocation from the state.

The resources will come from a new fund established by the governor’s office, the AZCares Fund.

Local governments may use their allocation to cover regular payroll costs of public health and public safety personnel, freeing up existing local budget capacity to be deployed elsewhere, according to the governor’s office.

Local governments, tribal communities, schools and more also will be eligible for expedited reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Administration for coronavirus-related expenses. That includes purchases of testing supplies, personal protective equipment and more.

Called the Arizona Express Pay Program, it is meant to streamline the application process for accessing public assistance from FEMA.

Eligible entities include local governments, tribal communities, state agencies, nonprofit hospitals, nonprofit long-term care, skilled nursing and assisted living providers, school districts, charter school organizations and fire districts.

As part of the program, the governor’s office will provide $150 million to expedite FEMA reimbursement requests, helping get needed relief dollars to local entities faster.

Eligible projects must be related to COVID-19 response efforts and will be managed by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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