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Deadline approaches for coronavirus relief fund assistance for local governments

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19.

(The Center Square) – Illinois received nearly $5 billion in coronavirus relief fund aid from the federal government.

Part of that, $250 million, is meant for CURE, or Coronavirus Relief Fund Assistance for Local Governments.

Phil Keshen, the chief financial officer with the Illinois Department of Commerce, explained what CURE funds are designed to do.

“Local CURE is a local government assistance program for counties and municipalities,” Keshen said. “Any unit of local government based on the Illinois constitution definition.”

Each municipality and county in Illinois has been assigned a dollar amount of funding to be used for government expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of eligible reimbursements are temporary medical facilities, costs of providing COVID-19 testing, human services, payroll expenses for public safety, and health care.

Kelly Murray, the executive director for the Illinois Association of County Board Members, said they played an integral part in how the funds are allocated.

“One of the strongest positions we took in order to ensure a fair distribution schedule was to allocate the funds on a per capita basis possibly through a current formula recognized by the state,” Murray said.

Some of the costs that are not eligible for reimbursement through the program are government revenue shortfall replacement, severance pay, legal settlements, and payroll or benefits expenses for employees whose work duties are not substantially dedicated to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline to apply for CURE funding is July 17.

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