OLYMPIA — Local governments will soon receive their portion of nearly $300 million in federal CARES Act money awarded to states to address COVID-19-related costs.

The funds are flexible, allowing cities and counties to use their allocation for everything from public health and human services expenses to small business and economic support.

Municipalities were allocated funding based on population, COVID-19 impact and other factors.

The local allocations are: $12,391,500 to Whatcom County, $2,703,300 to Bellingham, $162,750 to Blaine, $84,000 to Everson, $429,000 to Ferndale, $434,100 to Lynden, $48,150 to Nooksack and $48,120 to Sumas.

Commerce is now in the process of contracting with local governments to receive the funds. Funds may be used for costs incurred by the local government in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency during the period March 1 through Oct. 31, 2020. Allowable expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical and public health expenses.

  • Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the emergency.

  • Expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with public health measures.

  • Expenses associated with the provision of economic support in connection with the emergency.

  • Any other COVID-19-related expenses reasonably necessary to the function of government that satisfy the fund’s eligibility criteria.