Board Action Request
Authorize additional federal funding for activities relating to County’s COVID-19 public health response; delegate authority to the County Administrator
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners hereby authorizes up to $10,000,000 of its federal funding from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund available under section 603 of the Social Security Act, as added by section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act, to maintain Hennepin County’s ongoing COVID-19 public health response; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners delegates authority to the County Administrator to determine the amount of funds needed to maintain Hennepin County’s ongoing COVID-19 public health response as identified above; following review by the County Attorney’s Office, the County Administrator is authorized to execute any agreements necessary to effectuate such additional allocation and utilization; and the Controller is authorized to accept, transfer and disburse the funds as directed.
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting where, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes § 12.29, a continuing Local Emergency was declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, the County Board utilized federal pandemic funds for many actions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Leasing space to provide isolation and quarantine emergency shelter, to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in congregate settings,
- Providing COVID-19 tracing and testing, including in county correctional facilities;
- Providing personal protective equipment and additional hygiene and cleaning supplies (e.g., hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes) to staff and to community;
- Providing staffing, equipment, and other resources to implement COVID-19 mitigation measures in county facilities and workspaces, including physical distancing, air filtration, etc.;
- Paying COVID-related healthcare costs and co-pays, as well as paid COVID-19 leave for staff;
- Eligible payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services and similar employees mitigating or responding to the public health emergency, including paid COVID-19 leave for on-site employees and paid COVID-19 childcare leave.
The County Board previously delegated authority to the County Administrator to utilize federal pandemic funds for these and other activities related to the COVID-19 public health response. In 2020, the County initially utilized federal funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, for these activities. Subsequently, through Resolution No. 21-0132, the County Board allocated federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), which was signed into law on March 11, 2021, to maintain the County’s COVID-19 public health response.
Funding from ARPA’s Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund may only be used to cover certain costs incurred by December 31, 2024, including costs to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. These costs may include a broad range of services and programming for COVID-19 mitigation and prevention, such as medical care, testing, contact tracing, support for isolation or quarantine, purchases of personal protective equipment, and ventilation improvements in congregate settings or other public facilities. These costs may also include payroll and covered benefits expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services and similar employees, to the extent that their services are devoted to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and expenses of providing paid sick and paid family and medical leave to public employees to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions.
This board action would provide additional funding to maintain the County’s ongoing public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, throughout 2022 and beyond. This board action would also delegate authority to the Administrator to determine the amount needed, from the $10 million in authorized funding, for these continued activities, and to execute any necessary agreements to continue the public health response.
Current Request: The current request is to authorize additional federal funding for continuation of the County’s public health response that began in 2020 and continued through 2021 to today. The request also delegates authority to the County Administrator as needed to continue administration of the public health response.