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Nevada gets green light to spend over $40 million of additional relief funds

By Sudhiti Naskar
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Governor Steve Sisolak’s finance office in charge of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) has good news for Nevadans. The state received permission to add more than $40 million from CRF funds allocated in 2020 to its 2021 CRF expenditures, following an extension received from the U.S. Treasury. 

The CRF from last year was supposed to expire on Dec. 30, 2020, said Lesley Mohlenkamp, the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund coordinator, during a Task Force meeting on Thursday. 

The extension was made possible by passage of the Consolidated Appropriation Act (2021), which Donald Trump signed on Sunday, Dec. 27 after a dispute with Congress over the size of the individual payments included in the bill. Some were concerned he’d use a pocket veto to kill the bill.

This is a $2.3 trillion spending bill that includes $900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic–including $600 individual payments–and an additional $1.4 trillion for regular government appropriations during fiscal year 2021.

The act expands and enhances provisions of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), making it possible for Nevada to use the CRF dollars from 2020 until Dec. 31, 2021.

The governor’s office requested the Treasury to allow the extension to use the funds through the end of 2021 and received the permission Wednesday, said Mohlenkamp. This is the reason the Governor’s office was slow in responding to assistance requests from local institutions and businesses, she added. 

The governor’s office was able to give an “official green light” Jan. 14 to concerned departments, which until then had been waiting to use up the available funds.   

According to Mohlenkamp, the continuation of funding impacts the “decision making quite a bit,” as Nevada will now be able to spend money on different relief programs throughout 2021.  

Also, the new federal relief programs that are about to be implemented are “very targeted,” said Mohlenkamp. The federal dollar assistance will be given to areas like education, rental and business assistance and also for stimulus payments.

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