Maricopa City Council
Maricopa City Council: clockwise from top left: Councilmember Rich Vitiello, Vice Mayor Nancy Smith, Councilmember Vincent Manfredi, Councilwoman Julia Gusse, Councilmember Henry Wade, Mayor Christian Price and Councilmember Marvin Brown. (Maricopa City photo)
After cities and counties protested, with Pinal County going so far as to start a lawsuit, Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday announced distribution of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds across the state.
That includes nearly $6 million for the City of Maricopa and $27.2 million for Pinal County to mitigate the expenses of responding to COVID-19.
A portion of the money is for reimbursement of Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) costs, but the larger portion is flexible funding. Ducey said he had heard the concerns of many leaders across the state.
“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,” Ducey said in his prepared statement.
Anthony Smith, chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, which met in executive session today before the announcement, said they had the lawsuit paperwork in their hands ready to file when they received the notification late this afternoon. The board had voted to sue the U.S. Department of the Treasury to force a clarification of its guidelines that would require Ducey to distribute the funds.
Smith said the county had a detailed spreadsheet of the FEMA costs incurred by its response to the coronavirus. He said the county already has $10 million in costs, primarily for public health and public safety.
“And the crisis is not over yet,” he said.
“As leaders of rural communities, we often face unique challenges in the administration of healthcare and government services,” Mayor Christian Price said in the statement from the Governor’s Office. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. I’m grateful for the governor’s thoughtful approach in allocating these resources and for giving us the maximum flexibility in how we can use these dollars to meet the needs of our citizens.”
Cities and counties must still discuss how the funds will be spent.
Smith said the county supervisors will meet next week to review the incoming funds and related requirements. Because municipalities in the county are receiving direct funding, some of that responsibility is lifted from the county.
“While we hoped Pinal County would receive a little more, we are grateful to the governor for the amount of money we will receive,” Smith said.
According to the Governor’s Office, the plan includes $441 million in direct, flexible funding to local cities, towns and counties that did not receive direct funding earlier this year. It will be distributed through the state’s AZCares Fund. Distribution is based on 2019 census data.
Arizona received $2.8 billion. City and counties with population over 500,000 could receive their money directly from the federal government.
Maricopa County, Pima County and the cities of Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson received about $1 billion all together. That left the state with $1.9 billion.
Today’s announcement provided $591 million to the rest of the counties and cities, including $150 million in direct FEMA funds.


Arizona Express Pay Program
Gov. Doug Ducey also launched the Arizona Express Pay Program, streamlining 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. The program expedites delivery of resources for eligible projects related to COVID-19 response efforts and will be managed by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA).
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.
For more information about the public assistance initiative and grant opportunities for Arizona local governments, tribal communities and nonprofit organizations, including a step-by-step application process, visit ArizonaTogether.org.

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