Delgado, Zeldin Partner With Local Officials in Bipartisan Push to Secure Federal Funds for Local Governments
WASHINGTON, DC – During the first week of the 117th Congress, U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and Representative Lee Zeldin (NY-01) re-introduced their bipartisan Direct Support for Communities Act to ensure that every single community, regardless of size, can access urgently needed COVID-19 relief funding from the federal government.
In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which provided $500 billion for communities with over 500,000 residents, meaning smaller towns and cities were unable to access desperately needed federal COVID-19 relief funding to help make ends meet. In May of last year, to respond to the concerns of local communities, Reps. Delgado and Zeldin introduced a bipartisan solution: the Direct Support for Communities Act. The bill creates a funding mechanism that allows smaller communities direct access to federal funding. These funds will help prevent the layoffs of public health care workers, firefighters, police, sanitation workers, teachers and other vital public servants in New York, and ensure that all counties, cities, towns, and villages, regardless of size, have the financial resources needed to continue to provide these necessary services and to avoid local tax and fee increases that will put more burden on already cash-strapped families and businesses in this crisis. The Direct Support for Communities Act was the formula adopted in both the Heroes and Updated Heroes Act, which the House passed in 2020.
Today, the Congressmen re-introduced this critical legislation as their first bill of the 117th Congress. To mark this introduction, the Congressmen joined local officials from New York’s 19th Congressional District and New York’s 1st Congressional District to discuss the urgency in getting the Direct Support for Communities Act signed into law. A video of the event can be found here.
“When the COVID-19 crisis hit, our local governments jumped to action to provide essential services while facing decreasing tax revenue. Now, more than 10 months into this pandemic, our communities desperately need federal funds to avoid layoffs, ensure timely vaccine distribution, grow availability of testing, and continue meeting the needs of their residents,” said Representative Antonio Delgado. “This morning, alongside Rep. Lee Zeldin, I re-introduced the bipartisan Direct Support for Communities Act, a commonsense solution that ensures counties, towns, and villages across the country can make ends meet. We must get this bill moved through Congress to support our localities in need – the urgency is now.”
“Our local governments have been on the frontlines in the battle against coronavirus, and they will be critical in finishing the fight on the ground,” said Congressman Zeldin. “In light of historic, enhanced budgetary shortfalls caused by this ongoing outbreak, we must ensure our local governments have the direct funding they need to recover fiscally. This bipartisan proposal with Congressman Antonio Delgado helps deliver vital funding to counties, towns, cities and villages of all sizes so that we can ensure our communities emerge on the other side of this outbreak stronger than ever.”
“Counties, towns and villages are providing vital front line services to New Yorkers during the pandemic. It is extremely important that the federal government adequately support these public services and outreach efforts as they are under tremendous strain from the numerous impacts of this virus. This legislation will ensure that the federal government provides resources to these front line services and thereby assist in sustaining local assistance to help residents where they live,” said David F. Fleming, Jr., Supervisor, Town of Nassau.
“I want to thank Congressman Delgado and Congressman Zeldin for their bipartisan, common sense support for keeping our local governments solvent during this time of unprecedented crisis. We in local government are experiencing previously unimaginable losses in revenue. Without federal financial support, we will be faced with the unthinkable need to cut essential services including police, fire, EMS, transportation, clean water, and more. The greatest pain will certainly fall on the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Gary Herzig, Mayor, City of Oneonta.
National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase went on to say, “Counties serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to face significant public health and economic challenges. We commend Representatives Delgado and Zeldin for reintroducing the Direct Support for Communities Act, a bipartisan coronavirus relief package that recognizes that counties urgently need additional aid. County employees have been, for months, heroically fighting COVID-19 and will now stay on the frontlines as we begin to vaccinate America. We urge the administration and Congress to unite in supporting relief efforts on the ground as we continue to carry America through this pandemic.”
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Earlier this year the federal government stepped up to help larger communities but left smaller communities, like Dutchess and its municipalities, to struggle alone with the financial impacts of COVID. It had been our hope that the second stimulus bill passed in late 2020 would correct this omission, but once again our critical needs were not addressed. Although at smaller scale, our communities provide the same kind of critical services which are being seriously impacted by the lack of federal financial support. We hope Congress will rectify this omission and provide the critical resources we need to preserve services and jobs in our community.”
Under the Direct Support for Communities Act, establishes a formula to ensure local governments of all sizes are eligible for federal COVID-19 relief funding. Under this formula, federal funding for local governments would be split evenly, with 50% going to cities, towns and villages and 50% going to counties.
- Of the portion allocated for cities, towns, and villages, 70% would go to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement communities using the CDBG formula through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- The remaining 30% for cities, towns, and villages would be sent to states, which would be required to sub-allocate the entire amount within 30 days to all non-entitlement communities in the state based on population.
- The portion of emergency fiscal assistance for counties would be allocated across all counties based on population.
Local governments would be able to use this federal relief to help address costs associated with lost revenues and response to the pandemic, in an effort to help avoid cuts to essential services and local tax and fee increases. Federal funding provided under the CARES Act went to 171 communities nationwide and excluded more than 25,000 small towns, cities and villages with populations under 500,000 residents.