SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to allocate the remaining $49.6 million in coronavirus relief money, with a Dec. 30 deadline to spend it or else it goes back to the state and the federal government.
A large portion will be going toward health services, but supervisors say the money will also include public safety funding.
Supervisors say some of the CARES Act funding will be appropriated to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office where the money can be spent before the Dec. 30 deadline, but critics say there are more pressing needs in the community that warrant relief.
“I can’t believe that this is how you keep choosing to spend this money,” said Kula Koenig, founder of Social Justice PolitiCorps.
Koenig said she’s angry about how the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors decided to spend federal and state funding for coronavirus relief.
She believes the money should be used to help lift up those struggling through the pandemic.
“This money could be going for rental assistance, helping with mortgage moratorium, helping with our small businesses that are failing,” Koenig told FOX40.
Sue Frost, vice chair of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, agrees that those areas need attention but providing relief involves planning.
“It takes time to activate these programs sometimes and it’s not that easy to get money moving,” Frost explained.
Instead, the board voted Wednesday to put the nearly $50 million in pandemic funding to public health and public safety — a move that critics say is a misstep.
“The county government, they prioritize law enforcement over community, over people,” Koenig said. “We really need to define what it means to be safe, you know. Is it safe to be outside and be unhoused? Is it safe to have your business go under and not know where your next paycheck is going to come from?”
Frost said the decision made is intended to make the county’s budget go further, assuring that any CARES Act money that goes to public safety will come back to the county’s general fund so that by 2021 more people can get the financial assistance they need to survive.
“The sheriff’s and probation are not making any more money, it’s an equal swap,” Frost explained. “And if it wasn’t for that equal swap, we would lose the money and that would be money next year that they could have had that they didn’t have. It’s the only way we can keep from losing that CARES Act money.”
With a lot of questions still remaining regarding the specifics of this plan, supervisors agreed to reconvene during their holiday recess to work out the details.