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Harford to give $2 million of CARES funding to volunteer fire and EMS outfits for COVID-19 expenses

Harford County government will give $2 million of its federal CARES Act funding to volunteer fire and EMS organizations in the county, the administration announced this week.

That money will be given as a lump sum, “in the interest of time,” to Harford’s 12 volunteer fire and EMS associations, county spokesperson Cindy Mumby said, to use for coronavirus-related expenses.

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The volunteer associations are funded in the county budget — receiving $6.6 million in the current fiscal year — and the CARES Act funding will be divvied up proportional to how much funding each of the 12 organizations normally receive from the county per a formula. Through that mechanism, Bel Air’s volunteer fire company will receive the largest portion at $298,027 and Havre de Grace’s ambulance service will receive the least with $71,723.

The volunteer organizations are required to keep records of the expenditures of federal money and be subject to inspection, Mumby said.

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The $2 million comes from the public health and safety half of the approximately $45 million in federal CARES Act funding the county received. If the money is not spent by Dec. 30, it will be returned to the treasury.

The funding comes after county executive Barry Glassman put out a last-call for CARES Act funding requests a couple of weeks ago, Mumby said. The responses from county agencies and organizations is greater than the remaining CARES funding, leading the county to hope for further federal stimulus.

The request for funding outstrips the funds that we have remaining,” Mumby said. “We are hoping that there will be another round of funding.”

Last week, the county announced it was distributing $1 million in the federal funds to help residents pay water and sewer bills. That funding is being administered by the Harford Community Action Agency — a non-governmental agency that connects county residents facing hardship to resources and assistance. Residents who have experienced a financial loss because of COVID-19 and are below 80% of the area’s median income, which changes by household size, can be eligible for the program.

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The week prior, Harford County Public Schools announced it had received about $5 million in CARES Act funding from the county.

Harford County has also offered a multitude of grants for businesses, farms, restaurants and, most recently, childcare providers, aimed at minimizing the pandemic’s economic damage.

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