The Local Government Recovery Task Force, a joint effort by VACo and VML to provide a local perspective as Virginia works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, held its second meeting on July 14. Members were pleased to be joined by Courtney Dozier, Policy Director for Governor Northam, and Carter Hutchinson, Deputy Policy Director, who provided an update on recent activities within the Administration and fielded questions from Task Force members. VACo is represented on the Task Force by President-Elect Jeff McKay, Immediate Past President Sherrin Alsop, Past President Mary Biggs, Past President William Kyger, and Region 2 Director Ruth Larson.
Ms. Dozier discussed the recently-developed Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program, which uses $50 million from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund allocation to provide financial assistance with housing for certain eligible households. Mr. Hutchinson noted that the Administration is in the process of developing a revised revenue forecast in preparation for the upcoming special session; once the revenue projections are developed, the Administration will be able to review potential spending proposals, and is willing to consider innovative suggestions from localities to assist with revenue enhancements or temporary mandate relief.
Topics of discussion with Task Force members included assistance to localities with school reopening, such as procurement of personal protective equipment and other supplies, and the importance of child care in localities where in-person schooling may be supplemented by distance learning. Members discussed the need to support localities whose economies are supported by tourism-related industries that have been heavily affected by business closures and restrictions, and the overall need for assistance with lost local revenues. Ms. Dozier assured participants that expanding access to broadband is a top priority for the Administration, which is considering legislative options for the special session. Since law enforcement reforms are expected to be considered at the special session as well, members requested that these issues be a topic of conversation at the Task Force’s next meeting, which will likely be held in early August.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle