Walz: $853M in CARES Act funding to be distributed to Minnesota communities

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan on Thursday announced a plan to distribute $853 million in federal funding to Minnesota communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Of that total, $841 million will go to counties, cities and towns while the remaining $12 million will be allocated toward food shelves and food banks.

The local governments can use the funding to support services and grants to businesses, hospitals and individuals impacted by the pandemic.

The funding will be based on a per capita formula developed by lawmakers during the special session last week. Counties with a population of less than 500,000 will receive $121.28 per person; cities larger than 200 people will get $75.34 per person, as will towns with a population over 5,000 and cities with a population under 200; towns with a population less than 4,999 will receive $25 per person.

Cities and towns with a population under 200 will have their distribution sent to their county.

Before receiving the funding, local governments will have to certify how they intend to use the money, as the CARES Act requires payments only be used to cover necessary costs related to the pandemic that weren’t accounted for in state budgets.

"Local governments urgently need this funding in order to effectively respond to this unprecedented public health emergency," said Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly. "The Department of Revenue has a long track record of distributing aid to local governments. The infrastructure already in place will ensure this aid is distributed quickly and accurately."