New Castle County authorizes up to $136 million in funds to aid state in Covid-19 testing recovery efforts

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The New Castle County Council passed of Resolution 20-201 authorizing up to $136 million dollars from the County’s federal CARES Act allocation to support six state-wide programs.

New Castle County is the first county in the country to provide cost-share from the county’s allocation of CARES Act funding to state government. This funding will supplement the $927 million of CARES Act funding the state received directly from the federal government.

Counites with more than 500,000 residents received CARES Act funding, partly on the assumption that most counties operate their own health and in some cases social services departments.

New Castle County accounts for about 58 percent of the state’s population.

The county previously assisted state programs that included business and nonprofit grants, and Covid-19 testing. The state has been seeking the county’s $300 million CARES Act allocation as it deals with pandemic-related costs and high unemployment.

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and the State of Delaware developed a three-step approach for the funding agreement, according to a release.

The allocations included the cost of all six statewide programs, then determined the percentage of the cost tht would apply to New Castle County residents and businesses, and finally, determined the cost-share between the State of Delaware and New Castle County.

“We always work collaboratively with our federal, state and municipal governments but particularly in times of crisis,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “My thanks to County Council, to the Governor’s office and to Delaware’s Office of Management and Budget to reach this agreement to help keep our community healthy and sustain our economy during this crisis.”

Statewide programs that New Castle County CARES Act funding will support:

Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (county contribution: up to $67.5 million)

Based on unemployment claims through mid-September and estimates through the rest of the year, the total statewide amount of COVID-19 unemployment claims paid for the forty-two-week period, March 15 to December 30, 2020, will be $273 million. Approximately 55% of the statewide claims are from residents in New Castle County.

Essential Childcare Program (county contribution: up to $38 million)

The state childcare program provides supplemental benefits to centers during the pandemic. During the various stages of the Governor’s State of Emergency, many facilities have had to, and continue to, either reduce their capacity or close completely. In order to maintain an infrastructure of childcare facilities post Covid-19 this grant/subsidy program was created. Total cost of the program state-wide is estimated to be $128 million.

Statewide Covid-19 testing program (county contribution: up to $20.6 million)

Program will continue to provide access to testing regardless of symptoms to all residents of Delaware. Statewide costs are expected to be approximately $80 million.

Statewide contract tracing program (county contribution: up to $3.1 million)

Program for contractual and technology expenses to run contact tracing program in Delaware. Statewide cost expected to be $12 million.

Enhanced rent & utility program (county contribution: – up to $4.7 million)

It is estimated that 70 percent of the recipients of this program reside in New Castle County. The program provides emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DEHAP) provides eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company.

Hospitality emergency loan program (county contribution: up to $1.8 million)

Program established to assist hospitality-related businesses in Delaware that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. No-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month to help the estimated 2,700 affected Delaware businesses in the hospitality industry cover immediate, unavoidable expenses. Statewide program expected to cost $8.5 million with an estimated 48 pecent of applicants are located in New Castle County.

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