Funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act — or CARES Act — is making its way to state and local governments. Montgomery County has received a $92 million grant, based on the county’s population, and is creating a temporary office to oversee management and distribution of the emergency funds.
Brianna Wooten with Montgomery County says Marvene Mitchell-Cook has been selected to lead the Office of CARES Act. Mitchell-Cook currently serves as workforce director for the county but will focus on the new office for the remainder of the year.
“She's got the financial audit background that's going to be important to be successful in this role," says the communications director. "We've been told by the federal government and the Treasury that this is going to be subject to heavy audit scrutiny. So, we want to make sure that we have programs in place that follow the criteria set out by the federal government.”
Mitchell-Cook’s nomination to lead the temporary office was confirmed this week at a public meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.
In a statement released by the county, she said, "“I’m honored to lead this new department, and to ensure these funds are distributed fairly and where there is great need. I want to thank our Commissioners and our County Administrator for this opportunity to serve the community I love at a time when this support is needed most.”
The details on how CARES Act funds will be spent have not been determined yet, but local officials say that they’ll look at ways to help small businesses as the program rolls out in June. None of the money can be used to fill any of the county’s budget shortfalls.
The CARES Act office will have until December 31 of this year to pay out the $92 million. If it does, the county could then qualify for another $116 million in CARES Act funding.