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Palm Beach County yet to discuss reimbursement of cities for coronavirus costs

Cities send letter to Mayor Dave Kerner asking for CARES Act money
Palm Beach County Commission
Posted at 3:41 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 17:33:02-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Several area leaders are asking Palm Beach County for reimbursement of COVID-19 costs.

A letter, which was signed by members of Congress and commissioners from Jupiter to Boca Raton, was sent last week to Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner and commissioners.

It asks the county to start helping cities with the CARES Act funds they have received.

Boca Raton city councilman Andy Thomson said the response to COVID-19 is a significant expense for cities.

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"What we have been doing is paying for it out of pocket using tax dollars," said Thomson.

The councilman said Boca Raton has spent more than $2 million on COVID-19 expenses on items like personal protective equipment, sick leave, overtime and support for the police and fire department.

Thomson and leaders in four other cities are asking Palm Beach County to begin reimbursing all 39 cities using the $261 million in CARES Act money the county received in May.

"The cities have been bearing the brunt of this too, like the county, and it is only fair we can partake in the funding the received," said Thomson.

Kerner said Monday so far commissioners have not discussed reimbursing the cities.

"As of right now are still in a very active and operation mode, and we will attend to the needs of the cities when we interact with their mayors and city managers," said Kerner.

Kerner said it would help to hear from each city, instead of individual commissioners in a letter.

"There needs to be a unified voice and a unified vision from each city," said Kerner.

Thomson said the city of Boca Raton has reached out to the county about the CARES Act money, and he hopes for action soon.

"If you are spending tax dollars on the COVID response, that means those tax dollars are not available to do other things," said Thomson.

Below is the letter sent to Palm Beach County related to the reimbursement of CARES Act money to cities: