City of Yelm to Receive Roughly $274,000 in COVID-19 Relief Funds Through CARES Act

By Nisqually Valley News Staff
Posted 5/12/20

The City of Yelm will receive approximately $274,050 in flexible relief funding through the federal CARES Act, according to the Washington State Department of Commerce.

Thurston County and its …

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City of Yelm to Receive Roughly $274,000 in COVID-19 Relief Funds Through CARES Act

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The City of Yelm will receive approximately $274,050 in flexible relief funding through the federal CARES Act, according to the Washington State Department of Commerce.

Thurston County and its surrounding city governments will receive a combined $20 million in funding. The Department of Commerce says nearly $300 million in relief funds were allocated based on population and added that municipalities could use these funds on a flexible basis.

“Cities and counties are the places we live — and they are the governments closest to the people,” Commerce Director Lisa Brown said in a statement on Friday, May 8. “They are taking extraordinary measures to protect their residents during the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to provide the basic services we rely on. Commerce is committed to moving these critical dollars as quickly as possible so communities can plan and prepare for safe reopening and recovery.”

According to the Department of Commerce, local governments will be responsible for making determinations on what expenditures are necessary in accordance with the COVID-19 financial recovery rules. A list of expenditures will not need to be disclosed, and cities can spend resources on anything from public and human services expenditures to small businesses and economic support.

“The fund is designed to provide ready funding to address unforeseen financial needs and risks created by the COVID-19 public health emergency,” according to information from the Department of Commerce’s website.

Rainier will receive $63,300, Tenino will receive $55,200, Bucoda and Roy will receive $25,000, and the county government will receive $15.72 million.



Yelm Mayor JW Foster said while rules on spending the funds are fairly flexible, the city is working to thoroughly review the guidelines on how the funds can be spent.

“We have to be real careful how we structure this to ensure they’re reimbursed,” Foster said.

The hope is to potentially set up a grant program for affected businesses and distribute funds to local organizations that have been at the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 crisis, such as the Yelm Community Services food bank.

Foster said he doesn’t have a timeline on when the city could expect to begin utilizing the funds.

“This is in effect our own taxpayers’ money coming home, and we want to make sure that we’re taking full advantage of it,” he said.

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