SOUTH MISSISSIPPI, Miss. (WLOX) - There is money available to defer COVID-19 expenses for cities and counties, but not many are taking advantage of it.
The legislature in August approved $70 million from the federal CARES Act for MEMA to distribute.
So far only five counties, including Hancock and Harrison, and two cities in the state have applied for the money.
When the pandemic hit, cities and counties didn’t have time to figure out how they would pay for the extra expenses that they incurred, like signs, barricades, temperature scanners and extra pay for those workers on the front lines.
But, now they can get some of that money back.
“You know people like the deputies and some of the road people and the EOC, they don’t have a choice, they have to be out in it,” said Hancock County Board of Supervisors President Scotty Adam. “And if they have to be out in it, we agreed to give them some additional pay that we called hazard pay.”
Last week, the county received more than $200,000 to reimburse the expenses, including money spent on temperature scanners.
“We spent about $44,000 on 20 of those machines,” said Adam. “Without any anticipation of getting any of the money reimbursed. so we did the purchase for that and set them up in all our county facilities.”
In all, the county was given $436,000 based on their population, which has covered all their extra expenses to date.
“And this also covered the PPE we’ve been buying throughout the county," said Adam. “Keeping all our facilities stocked with everything they need as far as face masks and all the shields you see at the work stations.”
There is more than $5.5 million waiting to be claimed by Gulf Coast cities and another $1.5 million for Jackson county that is still unclaimed.
You can see how much money has been allocated to each city on the MEMA web site.
The deadline for cities and counties to apply for the money is October 15.