In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020, totaling $150 billion in funding for states, local governments, U.S. Territories and Tribal governments.
On May 7, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce to oversee and manage the distribution of the $1.6 billion in CARES money allocated to Kansas, with $400 million to local governments, based on population ($194 pp - $350 M) and impact rates (unemployment and COVID-19 cases – $50 M). As part of the State’s distribution plan, they announced they would handle allocation of money for local governments through the 105 Kansas Counties, with Riley County earmarked for $14,994,234 to distribute to local governments and other organizations.
Per Federal and State stipulation, all CARES/SPARK funding has to be distributed/encumbered by December 31, 2020, and only address expenses between March 1, 2020, and through the end of the year. The local government support from CARES/SPARK funding is to help offset the additional expenses local governments have incurred due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but not to help offset any loses of revenue.
Based upon this criteria, the City plans to use its allocated funds as reimbursement for the actual expenses it has incurred for enhanced cleaning equipment, materials and supplies, plus expenses to address telework needs, and building upfits to promote social distancing and other Center for Disease Control (CDC) best practices.
In addition, the City also plans use its allocated dollars for:
- Public awareness campaigns about COVID-19-related issues
- Convention Center and tourism marketing to support the hard-hit local travel and tourism industry
- Rent and mortgage assistance for those who were laid off as a result of COVID-19