The North Dakota Emergency Commission today unanimously approved the reallocation of turned-back federal funding to support the state’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, directing nearly $221 million to K-12 school districts, cities and counties, businesses including the hospitality industry, hospitals, and other programs.
North Dakota received $1.25 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund as part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The $221 million approved today is what was turned back from the previously allocated federal funding.
The $221 million in turnback included $90 million from the Bank of North Dakota, $50 million from unemployment insurance, $33 million from the Department of Health and $17 million from the Department of Emergency Services.
Under the reallocation approved today, K-12 school districts will receive nearly $34 million, on top of the $30 million previously allocated. The $64 million will be paid out directly to school districts utilizing a base payment amount and a per pupil distribution.
Cities and counties will also receive over $61 million, in addition to the $59 million previously distributed as a reimbursement for law enforcement payroll and the $20 million for local public health units.
The North Dakota Department of Health will provide $10 million to the six large referral hospitals in Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot. These hospitals have played a critical role in expanding hospital capacity and providing direct COVID-related care as well as maintaining needed medical care throughout the pandemic.
“This federal funding is being reallocated in a way that positively impacts North Dakota citizens, schools, hospitals, businesses and all levels of state and local government,” Burgum said. “We're grateful to the legislators, agency leaders and citizens whose input and collaboration have ensured that these funds can be used to minimize the negative impact of COVID-19 and facilitate economic recovery, saving both lives and livelihoods.”
The six-member Emergency Commission consists of four legislative leaders – House Majority Leader Chet Pollert of Carrington, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner of Dickinson, House Appropriations Chairman Jeff Delzer of Underwood and Senate Appropriations Chairman Ray Holmberg of Grand Forks – along with Secretary of State Al Jaeger and Burgum as chairman. The proposals must be approved by the Legislature’s Budget Section on Oct. 28.
An additional $49 million will be provided to support business recovery across the state through the Department of Commerce and the Bank of North Dakota. This reallocation of funding includes $29 million to Commerce, in addition to the repurposing of approximately up to $25 million for a total of $54 million to be distributed to businesses within the hospitality and entertainment industries who have been most directly impacted by COVID-19 pandemic guidelines. Businesses receiving these grants will be required to certify that they will adhere to the ND Smart Restart guidelines. The reallocation of funding includes an additional $20 million to the Bank of North Dakota for the COVID Pace Recovery II program.
Other allocations include:
- $14.8 million for the Department of Human Services, including $8 million to provide child care emergency operations grants, over $3 million for long-term care and skilled nursing facility environmental upgrades, $1.7 million for community-based behavioral health services, and other program funding.
- $16 million for the North Dakota Industrial Commission for a drilled-but-uncompleted (DUC) well incentive program. These funds were repurposed from an orphan well plugging and reclamation program and are also designed to maintain oil and gas service sector jobs and activity as the industry, which contributes over half of the state’s tax revenue, continues to recover.
- $13.5 million for the North Dakota Highway Patrol to cover payroll expenses.
- $9.7 million for Job Service North Dakota to cover reimbursable employers’ costs related to unemployment insurance, including $5.4 million for hospitals and long-term care, $1.2 million for higher education and the remainder for cities and counties, non-profits and others.
- $5.2 million for the North Dakota University System for environmental and education modifications in response to COVID-19.
- $8.1 million for other state agencies and political subdivisions, including $2.2 million through the Department of Agriculture to support meat processing plants to address demand for retail meat products.