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League Bulletin

July 10, 2020

​Gov. Roy Cooper at at meeting of the Council of State this week said it’s unlikely he’ll issue another order extending the prohibition on utility shutoffs during the pandemic. The prohibition has been in place for months and has hamstrung utilities, including municipal, that must keep services running despite a lack of supportive revenue. The majority of the meeting’s discussion dwelled on Executive Order 142, issued on May 30 to extend the shutoff prohibition first announced in March. The current order expires at the end of July. 

At the Council of State meeting, State Treasurer Dale Folwell introduced a resolution to rescind the executive order, stating that municipalities will be facing “extreme unintended financial consequences” due to customer nonpayment. Folwell said he preferred to see local governments work with their constituents instead of a statewide blanket order. 

While Folwell’s resolution wasn’t considered, Governor Cooper said it was unlikely he would extend the order, which has just a few weeks of life left. Additionally, Council of State members discussed possibly added flexibility from the federal government, with Attorney General Josh Stein suggesting a letter from the Council to members of Congress urging them to help our communities


​The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act gave the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) $1.5 billion to assist communities for best positioning with the coronavirus. Recently, EDA published answers to anticipated questions about how it actually applies.

Here's an example: 

Congress appropriated EDA $1.5 billion via the CARES Act. What role will EDA play in strengthening and assisting communities recovering from the coronavirus crisis?

EDA’s mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda. EDA works directly with communities to catalyze locally developed strategies to build capacity for economic development based on local business conditions and needs.

CARES Act funds were appropriated under the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF), which is EDA’s most flexible program. EDA will accept applications for grants to support a wide variety of assistance including:

-Planning and Technical Assistance

-Capitalization and Recapitalization of Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs), which provide access to capital for businesses

-Construction of infrastructure and other economic development projects

-Innovation grants.

Here's another: 

Is every community in the country eligible for EDA CARES Act funding?

Yes. EDA has determined that economic injury from the coronavirus pandemic constitutes a “Special Need” under the EAA program and eligibility may be established on that basis without reference to other economic distress criteria. Nonetheless, applicants for EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance are still required to explain clearly in their application how their project would “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus” or respond to “economic injury as a result of coronavirus.”

What specific programs will EDA implement immediately to assist communities?

EDA’s CARES Act Recovery Assistance will advance economic development in communities negatively impacted by COVID-19 in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:

-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Planning and Technical Assistance Grants: Provide economic recovery grants to each of EDA’s Economic Development Districts (EDDs), Tribal Grantees, and University Centers, and others.

-Grants to state and regional organizations to develop CARES Act recovery and resilience strategies, including industry supply chain, cluster analyses, econometric analyses, diversification efforts, and travel and tourism-related marketing campaigns.

-Capitalizing or Recapitalizing RLFs (PDF) across the nation targeting businesses in particularly economically distressed areas that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

-Innovation grants similar to Build to Scale, formerly known as Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS)-like awards focused on technology innovation activities that will help communities prevent, prepare, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

EDA expects to receive many more quality applications than it can fund using CARES Act funds. To be competitive, applicants should propose specific, well-defined projects to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including economic injuries caused by the pandemic. Proposals that are limited to providing general support for an organization and its mission are unlikely to be successful.