COUNTY GIVING BIGGEST SHARE OF COVID-19 CASH TO BERWYN
More than 100 Cook County suburbs will receive roughly $51 million in federal relief dollars for personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and other expenses related to the coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.
Of those municipalities, Berwyn will receive the most money. A total of $788,000 of the funding has been allocated to that western suburb.
The county received $429 million through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Local units of government were then allowed to distribute the money to municipalities with fewer than 500,000 people.
Suburbs will only be able to use the funds for direct expenses related to the coronavirus, such as those associated with buying personal protective equipment. The cities and towns must submit their expenses to the county to be reimbursed for what they spend.
“The main consideration for allocating the funds was socioeconomic determinants and public health needs,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Wednesday in Berwyn. “As we know, COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities, and this approach is designed to ensure these dollars are going to communities most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The county worked with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to create an “equitable funding formula” that distributed the federal dollars based on a municipality’s immediate needs to respond to the coronavirus, population, median income and public health statistics for the community, Preckwinkle said.
Berwyn is in line to receive the most money because it’s the second-most densely populated city in the county, said Preckwinkle spokesman Nick Shields.
Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero said the funding “demonstrates the county’s commitment to recovery in the communities that need it most.” He said the city has kept its coronavirus-related expenses for hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment and other things “bundled.” Once they get the eligibility requirements, Lovero said, Berwyn will apply to be reimbursed.
Preckwinkle said she’s hopeful the Senate will act on the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES, Act once it’s back from recess this month. If passed, that bill could allow smaller units of government to get reimbursed for revenue lost during the pandemic.