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Broward County Commissioners Accept CARES Act Fund

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Amber Amortegui
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WLRN
Broward County commissioners discuss potential ways of spending the CARES Act Fund. They plan to further discuss these details on June 16.

Broward County commissioners voted unanimously to accept the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Fund in today’s meeting.

The federal aid provides the county with $340,744,702 to spend on areas that have been negatively affected by the pandemic.

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The CARES Act Fund is a $150 billion federal aid program that’s distributed to each state according to its overall population. States are guaranteed to receive $1.25 billion regardless of their population size and the funds can be spent from now until Dec. 31.

Local governments that receive aid must have over 500,000 residents. Florida’s 12 largest counties are eligible to receive CARES Act funding — including Broward County. Broward will have the second-most allotted amount of aid in Florida following Miami-Dade County.  

The commissioners didn’t make any final decisions on how the funds would be spent, but they’ll discuss a plan of action during their next commission meeting on June 16. While no conclusions were made, many of the commissioners vocalized potential ideas. One tentative proposal emphasized preserving and creating jobs with the funds.

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Credit Amber Amortegui / WLRN
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WLRN
Commissioner Tim Ryan wants to use the CARES Act aid to create more jobs for unemployed Broward County residents.

“To have economic security, you have to have a job,” Commissioner Tim Ryan said. “And so, in my mind, much of this money needs to be going toward the creation of jobs. I think it’s time for figuring out how to put together a public sector’s job act.”

Commissioner Ryan listed a number of projects the county wants to implement which could produce many public sector jobs. Among these include the installation of 2,250 bus shelters, 80 miles of fiber optics, the creation of large transit facilities, and two large solid waste facilities.

Commissioner Nan Rich mentioned it’s obviously important to have a stable job, but it’s also important to have a stable home.

 

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Credit Amber Amortegui / WLRN
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WLRN
Commissioner Nan Rich proposed using a portion of the CARES Act Fund to help those at risk of becoming homeless.

“I think that we cannot forget as we look at a lot of the areas that have been tremendously hurt or people have been hurt, certainly housing is a big area there both with people unable to pay their rent of their mortgages,” Commissioner Rich said.