In January, GPEDC received an email from the state of Illinois showing the allotment amount for each municipality from their Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Support (Local CURES) program. The program, which launched in Fall 2020, was an effort by Illinois to expedite spending of a portion of Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars designated for local governments by the federal CARES Act. Through the Local CURES program, the state hoped to deploy $250 million to local governments based on population figures. These additional state relief funds were meant to help local governments secure reimbursement on eligible costs associated with the emergency response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
While most of the region’s municipalities with full-time administrative staff were able to claim their allotments, there were over 25 communities who had not yet claimed any dollars. These communities were at risk of losing their funds altogether and having them reallocated to other communities who had asked for more funding. In total, over $800,000 was at risk from the rural villages and cities in the five counties the GPEDC serves. Over the last two months, GPEDC’s Director of Rural Outreach and Development, Casey Peterson, has either physically driven to, emailed or otherwise tracked down the correct person via phone in every one of these communities. From Green Valley to Elkhart to Washburn, these allocations would have not been claimed without the efforts of the GPEDC. During the visits, Casey discussed new rules changes and creative ways to submit reimbursement requests for costs incurred in 2020 as a response to the pandemic.
So far over $500,000 of those funds have been claimed and are awaiting payment from the state. Another $120,000 has already been received by the communities. The remaining funds are a work in progress as Casey continues connecting with communities. As we begin to learn more about new assistance to communities through the American Rescue Plan, the relationships Casey has established will help even more local governments and the citizens and businesses their serve obtain economic relief.
Director of Rural Outreach and Development