Governor Kristi Noem held a news conference in Sioux Falls on Monday, June 22 to announce plans and procedures for the release of funds to South Dakota counties and cities for reimbursement of COVID-19 related expenses.
South Dakota has been awarded $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding. $200 million is allocated to cities and counties. Sioux Falls is eligible for $41.5 million with Minnehaha County eligible for $13 million, and Lincoln County for $4 million. Throughout the week. the governor announced similar plans in Rapid City, Huron, and Aberdeen.
Funding is allocated for health care, public safety and infrastructure costs related to the coronavirus pandemic and allotment is based on Census data from 2010. This allotment further highlights the urgency of a complete count for the 2020 Census from Cheyenne River, Ziebach County and Dewey County.
The reimbursement processes follow Federal and state guidelines and will be laid out on www.covid.sd.gov. Noem said she is working with legislative leadership to plan for a special session in August, if needed, to allocate more dollars for local government.
The dollars discussed on Monday reimburse expenses but do not cover revenue loss. Noem has advocated for flexibility in the allocation of dollars for revenue loss.
“I’ve been pretty clear with the administration and with Treasury that I would appreciate flexibility in the dollars they’ve already given us. That would be incredibly helpful with that $1.25 billion. If they would give us some flexibility to use it for revenue loss. And I know our cities and our counties would appreciate that as well,” she said.
She continued, “Just remember that a lot of the dollars that flow into the State of South Dakota, come in that $1.25 billion, but also there has been money coming in from the Federal government directly to tribes. They have received money directly to them.”
Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken praised Noem for the lack of a dip in sales tax revenue over the course of the economic slowdown.
“We’re the only state in the country that didn’t, quote, ‘shut down’…I want to tip my hat to the governor for the approach we took in our state, because I think we come into this strong and will probably emerge a lot quicker,” he said.
During the news conference, both Noem and TenHaken spoke about the impact the funding will have to South Dakota localities.
“This is welcome news for a lot of these entities, these counties and cities that have been struggling financially to cover some of the increased costs that they’ve had taking care of folks, struggling with the virus. Some infrastructure that they’ve had to invest in, and then also the public safety needs that have been put forward. The uncertainty that created has been a real struggle for local leaders,” Noem said.