COVID-19 Relief Funding

County Toolkit

Under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), California counties will receive $7.67 billion in total direct allocations  from the Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund.  Last May, counties received the first half of their allocations and the U.S. Treasury will disburse the second and final round of this funding in May 2022.

While special districts did not receive the same direct access to funding as other units of local government, ARPA granted counties and cities with specific authority to transfer a portion of their Fiscal Recovery Fund allocations to special districts.

Many counties are beginning to engage in the decision-making process for their forthcoming second and final round of ARPA funds. Therefore, special districts are encouraged to contact their County’s elected and administrative officials as soon as possible to relay unmet needs for funding of critical infrastructure and other essential services eligible under the Fiscal Recovery Fund.

CSDA has developed an email template (link here) for special districts to use in communicating unmet pandemic-related financial needs to their county. This resource is intended to aid districts with their requests for ARPA funds to cover impacts not covered by the 2021-22 State Budget $100 million Independent Special District COVID-19 Relief Fund administered by the California Department of Finance, the State Water Resources Control Board’s water and wastewater arrearage program, and/or other sources of federal, state, or local funding.

CSDA staff will also host a webinar and Q&A covering ARPA Fiscal Recovery Fund eligibility as outlined in the U.S. Treasury’s final rule on Wednesday, March 2 at 1 p.m. Special districts interested in requesting county transfer of ARPA funds are encouraged to register and attend the webinar.

Register | FAQ

This will likely be special districts’ final opportunity to request ARPA funds through a County transfer, so CSDA encourages districts to strongly consider pursuing this course of action if there remain unmet financial needs due to COVID-19.

$100 Million Special District Relief Fund Disbursements

The list of awardees is official and is available for download below. The county level allocation schedule is also housed on the State Controller’s Office website, linked here. The State Controllers Office made allocations to County-Auditor Controllers December 15, 2021. The Counties have 30 days to disperse funds to the special district recipients.

Questions regarding allocations should be directed to

Thank Your Legislator – Toolkit

If your district was awarded COVID-19 relief funds under the $100 million relief program, we have compiled a toolkit of templates and guidelines for you to use to thank your Legislators. Following a year of hard work and requests on the Legislature and Administration to support special districts by providing funding relief, this is a great way to give thanks and continue to bolster those relationships.

Below you will find the following downloadable resources:

Current as of September 2021

Background on the $100 Million Independent Special District COVID-19 Relief Fund

Relief Fund Document

This document contains updated information following the passage of SB 170, a Budget Bill Jr, that provided clarifying amendments to the provisional language guiding the administration of this funding program. 

Relief Fund Document

Current as of August 2021

Overview of Potential COVID-19 Relief Funding Opportunities for Special Districts

TAB August

CSDA has compiled a special edition of CSDA’s Take Action Brief to provide members with an overview of approved funding, the status of those funds, and steps special districts can take to prepare. Inside this edition you will find more information on the following funding opportunies:

  • $100 Million COVID-19 Relief Fund for Independent Special Districts (page 2)
  • Nearly $1 Billion in Water Utility Household Assistance (page 4)
  • Nearly $1 Billion in Energy Utility Household Assistance (page 6)
  • County Coordination for Access to Local ARP Funding (page 9)
  • Other Relief Funding Applicable to Special Districts (page10)
Read More

COVID-19 Impacts on California’s Special Districts

infographicclick here

Special Districts Impacts

While just 24 percent of the state's special districts indicated  significant budgetary challenges in June 2020, that number increases to 76 percent by June 2021. This will be the reality without the partnership of federal and state leaders granting special districts access to fiscal assistance and financial tools that would help districts rebound from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

LAO: An Initial Look at Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Local Government

Legislative Analyst's Office: An Initial Look at Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Local Government Fiscal Condition
"In the near term, if the Legislature has interest in providing fiscal relief to local governments, it could allocate funds to local governments most clearly in need—such as special districts that had a direct role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with no access to federal fund relief. The Legislature could develop a more targeted approach to distributing additional assistance in the long term when additional information becomes available about the fiscal pressures on local governments, including how existing federal assistance has offset local revenue declines and expenditure pressures." Read More

Legislative Analyst's Office: Framework for Allocating Federal Recovery Funds

"...Certain local governments—specifically special districts—did not receive any direct assistance. We recommend considering whether these individuals and entities that have been impacted by the pandemic, but not included in recent federal assistance, would benefit from assistance using the state’s fiscal relief funds." Read More

Little Hoover Commission Issue Brief: California’s Use of Federal Pandemic Aid

Little Hoover
"Special Districts play an important role in California’s governance, providing services to many residents. California has more than 2,000 special districts, providing services such as water service, sewer service, parks, or fire protection… The American Rescue Plan, by contrast, explicitly allows for transfer of State Fiscal Recovery Fund revenue to Special Districts." Read More

2020 General Election Likely Statewide Voter Survey

PowerPointclick here

Read this poll and share

64 percent of Californians support federal COVID aid for special districts.

What are Special Districts?

What is So Special Infographicclick here
As special districts advocate for federal COVID-19 relief, it is important to educate the State of California, as well as lawmakers and their staffs about special districts and the impacts they have in communities across the country. CSDA worked with the National Special Districts Coalition to produce this one-page backgrounder to share with your representatives.

More than 2,000 independent #SpecialDistricts continue providing critical infrastructure and #EssentialServices to millions of Californians. Unlike cities, counties, businesses & non-profits, special districts have not received direct federal or state #Coronavirus relief funding.

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Poll: Voters overwhelmingly support federal #COVID19 relief for local #SpecialDistricts

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State Legislators Budget Letter for Special District Relief 6.11.21

We applaud #CALeg approval of #COVID relief for #SpecialDistricts, their 120k frontline workers, & the communities they serve. CSDA appreciates the work of @SenToniAtkins, @Rendon63rd, @NancySkinnerCA, @PhilTing, as well as the 40+ Legislators urging @GavinNewsom

Download Letter

CA Congressional Letter RE Special District COVID Relief 6.14.21

CA Congressional Representatives applaud #CALeg inclusion of $100m COVID-19 relief fund for #SpecialDistricts in #CABudget and encourage @GavinNewsom approve.

Download Letter

State Sign on Letter

Bipartisan group of 46 #CALeg members signs letter to @CAgovernor requesting #COVID19 relief for #SpecialDistricts.

Download Letter

Carbajal Letter

15 members of CA Congressional Delegation sign letter to @CAgovernor, @SenToniAtkins, and @Rendon63rd, requesting #COVID19 relief for #SpecialDistricts.

Download Letter

Padilla Letter

Letter to the Governor: Senators Feinstein and Padilla support access to #COVID19 relief from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act funds for local #SpecialDistricts in dire need of relief.

Download Letter

Advocacy Letters Submitted by CSDA To Date:

All formal CSDA advocacy letters related to COVID-19 will be updated to this page in real-time.