By Mike Kruzman /

With the $2.3-trillion stimulus package approved last Friday, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, or SEMCOG, is helping local leaders understand how and when the help will be coming.

The passing of the CARES Act means $150-billion will be coming to state governments across the country. Michigan will be allocated $3.87-billion of that. SEMCOG, which is a regional planning partnership of local governmental units in 7 counties including Livingston, says the funding will be distributed differently depending on county population, with the magic number being 500,000 residents. The 5 counties that qualify will receive their allocation from the federal government. The remaining $2.8- billion will go to the state, with the Governor and legislature determining how much comes to the smaller counties, like Livingston County, and how much stays with the state to support their COVID-19 fighting efforts.

SEMCOG Local Government Finance Specialist Bill Anderson says one of the biggest challenges for municipalities to receive this stimulus, is a requirement that they must prove this money will reimburse costs unaccounted for by the pandemic. He said, “That’s gonna be one of the challenges, documenting all the expenses. Like expenses with Livingston County public health, expenses incurred by cities or townships, in terms of everything like closing down playgrounds to having to enforce the restrictions of people going into establishments. And that doesn’t even begin to start talking about everybody coming in and trying to find supplies for the hospitals and doctor’s offices
that are so critical.

The CARES Act also authorized an additional $5-billion to the Community Development Block Grant program, something that several local governments have already taken advantage of in the past. SEMCOG is hosting a webinar this Thursday with Senator Gary Peters, who will share his perspectives on how the Act will impact local government, small business, health care, and residents. It begins at 11am, and registration is now open on SEMCOG’s website.