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Fresno unveils spending plans of $92M CARES Act fund

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) — The Fresno City Council approved a plan on Tuesday that addressed how the city plans to spend federal funds related to COVID-19.

Fresno was awarded $92 million through the federal CARES Act. The money does not have to be paid back if it is spent on coronavirus expenses and cannot be spent on the city’s loss in revenue.

“We should be very safe and fulfill the federal requirements for the benefit of the entire community of Fresno,” said Fresno City Council Vice President Paul Caprioglio.

The council voted 7-0 on the plan with the largest sum of the money going toward community investment — $45 million. That includes $10 million for health clinics in the southwest and southeast Fresno — $5 million for mobile testing sites and $5 million for contact tracing.

The council agreed to put $5 million aside for rent/mortgage assistance, $4.5 million to buy hotels/motels for transitional housing for the homeless, $4 million for parks, and $4 million for small business grants.

$9 million of the fund is set to go towards City COVID-19 expenditures. That includes $4.25 toward Plexiglass barriers, social distancing signs, etc., $2 million for telework technology upgrade, and $1 million for PPE.

“I’m Happy with that,” said Mayor Lee Brand. “I am pleased that we are showing a united front to show the people of Fresno that we are working together to provide the best city we can.”

The city will save $38 million for salaries and in the hopes that the fund’s rules for spending will be amended.

“If ultimately they say you cannot use it to apply for lost revenue we are going to take the $9-10 million and we are gonna find another area to use it.”

Currently, the funds cannot be used on general fund costs. The city faces a $32 million deficit in the next year and over $80 million deficit over 8 years.

“The impact on the city has been tremendous and horrendous,” said Caprioglio.

The city does have a $35 million emergency reserve fund.

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