May 06, 2020

Manchin Bill Provides Relief To Local Governments In West Virginia Responding To The COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) led six Senators in announcing a plan to provide local governments with direct federal relief that can be used to pay for essential services and offset lost revenues and increased costs from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Direct Support for Communities Act would complement direct relief to states, which is also vital in this crisis. 

“Local governments in West Virginia and across America are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, caring for their communities and businesses, but I continue to hear from mayors and county leaders that they need more help to make up for lost revenues and make it through this pandemic,” said Senator Manchin. “Today I am proud to introduce legislation that will provide local governments with dedicated funding in the next COVID-19 pandemic emergency response funding package to ensure they can continue their commendable work during this crisis. I look forward to working my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure passage.”

The Senators are concerned about the layoffs of public healthcare workers, firefighters, police officers, sanitation workers, teachers and other vital public servants, and are fighting to ensure that all counties, cities, towns, and villages, regardless of size, have the financial resources necessary to continue to provide these necessary services and to avoid local tax and fee increases that will put more of a burden on already cash-strapped families and businesses in this crisis.

Under the proposed bill, the local relief fund would be split 50/50, half committed to cities, towns and villages, and half committed to counties:

  • Of the portion allocated for cities, towns, and villages, 70% would go to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement communities using the CDBG formula through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to allocate the funding.  
  • The remaining 30% for cities, towns, and villages would be send to states, which would be required to sub-allocate the entire amount within 30 days to all non-entitlement communities in the state based on population.
  • The portion of emergency fiscal assistance for counties would be allocated across all counties based on population. The exception to that formula is that a current CDBG entitlement county would receive its entitlement amount if it is higher than what that county would receive under an allocation based on population.

Local governments would be able to use this federal relief to help address costs associated with lost revenues and response to the pandemic, in an effort to help avoid cuts to essential services and local tax and fee increases. This proposed formula for local fiscal relief is intended to be incorporated into a larger legislative package that will also include fiscal relief for state and tribal governments; retroactive availability to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act for lost revenues; and other important matters.

A timeline of Senator Manchin’s actions throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

Senator Manchin launched an information resources page where West Virginians can learn more about the coronavirus pandemic and how to protect themselves and their families. To learn more please click here

To receive daily updates from Senator Manchin on the coronavirus pandemic, please click here.