Majority of Kansas counties pressed for time as CARES Act spending deadline approaches

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The deadline for federal relief funds provided through the CARES Act is fast approaching. Counties have less than a month to spend Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).  

The federal government gave Kansas more than 1 billion dollars in relief money.   

In a Legislative Budget Committee meeting on Tuesday, state leaders discussed how counties were using the funds. So far, more than 90 percent of counties have more than 15 percent left to spend.  

Office of recovery officials say it will take a collaborative effort to help get money to areas that need it the most. Kansas’ SPARK Task Force Secretary, Julie Lorenz, is optimistic that the money will be spent on time.   

“Nothing has been perfect about this process, and it’s been a stressful, hard time for everyone across Kansas,” said Secretary Lorenz. “What’s been really awesome to see is the teamwork between state and local governments really working together to bring relief to Kansans.” 

Lorenz presented an update on CRF spending to state senators and representatives. The reports presented reflect the progress as of October 31 note several counties have created regional partnerships to fund emergency response initiatives. This includes Chase, Lyon and Morris counties, which have joined together to upgrade the radio system in their area to improve emergency response.  

According to the Office of Recovery, counties are tailoring their investments to their needs and priorities. Counties like Butler which received $13.8 million, and Harvey county which received $7 million, have so far spent the majority of their funds in “K-12” and “county operations.” 

Some of the top concerns for committee members also included funding for small businesses and public health facilities. Secretary Lorenz said the flexibility has given the office the opportunity to better move money where needed, like the SFC’s approval on November 20 to reallocate $18.5 million to the state’s public health response, and $20 million to business and workforce support efforts.  

“It’s more than just the paperwork or the deadlines, it’s about getting dollars to Kansans immediately,” said Lorenz. 

Any of the money not spent by December 30 has to be returned to the government. 

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