Kennebec County and the city of Augusta have been awarded more than $130,000 in federal funds to cover unanticipated public safety spending because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The awards were announced Thursday through a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, part of the $850 million available under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program.

Under this program, eligible state, local and tribal governments can apply for the funds to pay for expenses like overtime, hiring additional staff and buying protective equipment. The money can also be used to help correctional facilities like jails pay for contagion prevention, sanitation and measures to address related medical needs of inmates, detainees and corrections staff.

Through this program, the city of Augusta has received $58,008 and Kennebec County has received $77,591.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff said that was just part of the $1.13 million set aside for the 17 eligible cities and counties in Maine. Any agency that received funding under the Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant Assistance program is eligible for the funding.

In Kennebec County, Waterville could receive a little more than $41,000. In addition, $3.26 million has been set aside for the state of Maine.

Keith Luke, Augusta’s deputy director for Development Services, said city staff have been tracking eligible expenses with the goal of obtaining the maximum amount of federal reimbursement for those expenses. He said additional reimbursement may also be available through federal programs, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We have been anticipating money like this,” Luke said, “and based on our collected experience, we know what they will want documented so we can get it to compensate the municipality for its investments.”

Augusta city officials have received other funds through a different part of the CARES Act.

Lt. Brian Chamberlain said the Augusta Fire Department initially received $36,000. It also submitted an application Thursday for an additional $46,000 from funds set aside in the CARES Act for emergency medical services and hospitals to address shortfalls in revenue they have been experiencing.

“Because our call volume has dropped, this gives a percentage of our Medicare reimbursement for the year for the EMS,” Chamberlain said.

The other municipalities eligible for the public safety funding are Androscoggin County, Auburn, Lewiston, Cumberland County, Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Penobscot County, Bangor, York County, Biddeford, Saco, Sanford and Lincoln County.

Wolff said the deadline for any eligible entity that has not yet applied is May 29, and the Office of Justice Programs is expected to fund successful applications on a rolling basis as it receives applications.

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