Mayor Michael Victorino sent a budget amendment for $67 million in federal CARES Act funding to the County Council on Thursday to address public health and economic impacts caused by COVID-19.
Mayor Victorino has requested that the amendment be expedited because of the short period to expend the funds. The CARES Act provides for expenditures incurred between March 1, 2020, through December 30, 2020. All unused funds must be returned.
“This funding will play a crucial role in providing relief to our residents, businesses and overall community, which has been greatly affected by this pandemic,” Mayor Victorino said. “As other counties in Hawaii expedite the processing of these federal relief funds, we look forward to action by our Council as soon as possible so we can further help our people during this difficult time.”
About a third of the CARES Act funding is planned to provide community support such as grants for households, small businesses and childcare. This includes supporting existing programs such as the Hawaii Emergency Laulima Partnership (HELP), Micro Business Loan Program and the Farmers Relief program.
Additional funds are planned for public safety, property acquisition, recovery initiatives, equipment and construction, and administrative costs.
“This pandemic has highlighted the importance of being flexible, adaptable and quick in our response efforts. The use of funds may be subject to change as the needs of our County change, especially if we see another rise in cases,” Mayor Victorino said. “I thank our federal, state and county legislators and partners for their continued support in this effort.”