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Skokie seeks federal reimbursement for coronavirus-related expenses

Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Chicago Tribune
by Brian L. Cox

Skokie is seeking more than $500,000 in federal tax money to help offset expenses the village incurred while working to help stop the spread of COVID-19, officials announced.

The Skokie Village Board during its regular meeting Sept. 8 voted unanimously to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Cook County government, which is allocating $429 million in federal CARES Act money to various municipalities, said Skokie Village Manager John Lockerby.

 

He said the CARES Act permits the reimbursement of expense incurred between March and December of 2020 directly related to containing, preventing and mitigating the coronavirus in the government and in the community at large. The village has applied for $533,358, said Lockerby.

“The village has already incurred considerable expenses in our efforts to stop the spread, including responding to emergency and non-emergency calls, purchasing personal protective equipment, outfitting offices to comply with distancing mandates and hardening the village technology infrastructure to enable remote work and so on,” he said.

Skokie has received and has applications in for approximately $1.9 million in county, state and federal COVID-19-related funds, including more than $800,000 for contact tracing, said Ann Tennes, director of marketing and communication with the village.

She said that assuming all grants are approved and allocated, “it is important to note that all of the funds are reimbursement-based on actual village expenditures, and actual cash received to date is less than $100,000.”

There are very specific guidelines as to how the funds can be used, she explained.

“The bulk of what we’re applying for will be to offset first responder salaries from March through at least mid-summer,” she added. “The bulk of responses for first responders during that time, there was always some kind of COVID-related element. When responding do they need to mask up? Do the people that they’re interacting with need to mask up? First responder salaries are an eligible expense.”

Skokie police officers responded to “countless calls” regarding violations of the governor’s stay-at-home order in the spring, along with continued calls regarding large gatherings and people not wearing face masks, and other issues encountered because of the pandemic, Tennes said.

As of Sept. 15, there have been 1,404 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Skokie, with 37 deaths reported, according to the village website.

Brian L. Cox is a freelance reporter.



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