New data on how Washington’s governments are using federal relief funds

By: Emily Makings
10:43 am
June 6, 2022

Last month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the first quarterly report on the use of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) through Dec. 2021. Only entities that received more than $10 million or have population over 250,000 are required to report quarterly. (In Washington, that includes the state, 21 counties, and 19 cities.) Treasury’s spreadsheet includes expenditure data by category and project descriptions for each entity.

(State and local governments may use the SLFRF generally in response to the pandemic and its economic impacts and to replace lost revenues. The state of Washington received $4.428 billion and Washington’s counties and cities received $2.692 billion. The money must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024 and spent by Dec. 31, 2026.)

The tables below give an overview of the planned and actual spending through Dec. 2021 for Washington’s reporting entities. (Chelan, Spokane, and Yakima counties reported that they had no planned projects yet.) At the end of last year, many jurisdictions had substantial sums remaining to be budgeted, and only a small percentage of funds had been spent. Across the governments, the largest share of allocations (27.3%) went to projects addressing the negative economic impacts of the pandemic.

Some notable items:

  • Pierce County had a plan in place for its entire allocation, with 43.1% going to services for disproportionately impacted communities.
  • Walla Walla County planned to use 76.8% of its allocation for public health projects.
  • Kirkland used almost all its allocation to replace lost revenues.
  • Bremerton planned to use 59.9% of its allocation on infrastructure.

For specific details on what projects are being funded, see Treasury’s spreadsheet.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported last week that 1,468 local governments across the country had refused their shares of the SLFRF. According to the AP, Brier, Washington “turned down the largest amount among cities, at more than $1.9 million.” As I noted here, Brier and five other Washington towns declined their SLFRF shares. Additionally, 23 towns in Washington declined their shares of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (an earlier, smaller pot of general federal relief).

Categories: Budget.
Tags: ARP Act , COVID-19