COVID-19 Relief Funding for Local Government

COVID-19 Relief Funding for Local Government
March 2021
Michael Hotard
Nathan Lee
Brytan Mendes
CivicPulse and the Bill Lane Center for the American West
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the federal government provided relief funding to local governments primarily through the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund that was part of the CARES Act. CivicPulse surveyed 494 elected policymakers and top appointed officials from counties, cities, and townships across the United States in January 2021 to understand the current status of relief funding, how funds had been used so far, and where additional funds would be spent if new relief funding is provided to local governments. Our key takeaways are:
  • 37% of local governments still plan on spending some of the 2020 relief funding in 2021.
  • The most common areas where funds were spent were compliance with COVID-19 safety measures, personal protective equipment, and payroll for local government staff.
  • Future spending is likely to be in many of the same areas, but more governments also predicted using funds for vaccines and additional small business support.
  • Local governments were most likely to look to other local governments for guidance on how to spend funds, but also relied heavily on their respective state governments.