Graham and Greenlee counties/local municipalities to receive COVID-19 relief funding

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Local counties look forward to receiving federal COVID-19 relief funding.

By Jon Johnson

Washington D.C. – While larger jurisdictions have already received funds out of the more than $1.8 billion Arizona was awarded under the federal CARES Act, remaining counties, cities, and towns will be awarded $441 million based on population as well as having access to another $150 million in emergency relief funds.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the funding Wednesday during a meeting with mayors and county leaders and said money from the  AZCares Fund should be in local governments as early as Thursday. The emergency relief funds will be held in the Arizona Express Pay Program, which will be used to expedite municipalities’ requests for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for expenses related to COVID-19.

Locally, the Graham County Chamber of Commerce, city of Safford, towns of Thatcher and Pima and Graham County has enacted programs to assist struggling businesses, including the popular voucher program.

According to the AZCares Fund, Graham County will receive roughly $2.4 million in funds; Safford will get roughly $1.15 million, Thatcher nearly $600,000, and Pima will see $296,676.

Greenlee County is set to receive $574,263, with Clifton getting $425,703, and Duncan will receive $90,468.

Safford Mayor Jason Kouts said the money for Safford will go into a public safety budget and be utilized from there.  

“We’re excited about getting this $1.1 million,” Kouts said.

Pima Town Manager Sean Lewis said Pima will use it initially to pay for the town’s expenses it has already incurred but hopefully will be able to use it for revenue recovery as well.

“As it sits right now, that’s going to pay for the employees we had to hire because of losing inmates,” Lewis said. “It’s going to pay for the extra equipment we’ve had to buy for the police and fire departments, and the extra sanitation and cleansing that we’ve done to our buildings and our vehicles. So, that money is going to get spent, it’s just a matter of making sure we spend it in the right place.”