As COVID-19 continues to change our collective operational landscape, CSDA is engaged with the Governor’s administration, State Legislative leadership, and Congressional staff, as well as working with city and county associations to monitor anticipated activity so that we can keep special districts informed and continue to advocate for your needs.CSDA is actively advocating for special district needs at the state and federal level and is communicating the COVID-19 challenges special districts are confronting.
Active Covid-19 Calls to Action
The federal government has taken steps to provide economic relief in response to COVID-19. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 relief packages that have been signed into law to date provide limited opportunity for special districts to benefit and essential needs remain unresolved. Special districts need access to critical funding to continue operations and well-serve their communities in these unprecedented times.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced S.4308, a Senate companion to H.R. 7073, the Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act. Senator Kamala Harris is an original cosponsor and was moved forward with the support of Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The bill uses text of H.R. 7073, but adds greater flexibility for states with less reliance on special districts within their communities and offers states guidance on how to distribute the 5 percent they must direct of future Coronavirus Relief Fund appropriations. Overall, the bill would:
CSDA will continue working with the National Special Districts Coalition and a group of California and national special districts stakeholders to advocate for the Senate legislation to be included in the Senate’s COVID-19 relief package, which would likely be negotiated with the House of Representative’s HEROES Act. CSDA joined 44 other special districts organizations from across the country in a letter (linked to PDF) to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schmer, D-N.Y., in support of S. 4308 and to convey urgency for its inclusion in the impending COVID-19 relief bill for local governments.
H.R. 7073 the “Special Districts Provide Essential Services ActThis is a stand-alone U.S. House bill that would allow special districts’ access to federal COVID-19 resources.HR 7073 is a direct result of special districts’ COVID-19 advocacy. Congressman John Garamendi began collaborating with CSDA on the “Special Districts Provide Services Act” in late April after his constituent special districts reached out with great concerns regarding financial hardships. Now, all special districts are asked to build on this supportBill overview:
The emergence of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor’s statewide stay at home order on March 19, and local response efforts has resulted in a statewide public health and economic crisis. California’s special districts have not been immune to the economic impacts and seek federal and state partnership to grant impacted districts access to fiscal assistance and financial tools so they may continue to stand ready to provide essential services to their community when the next disaster strikes. COVID-19 halted the economy, shifted business procedures to remote operations, and placed many special districts on the front lines of COVID-19 response to meet the needs of their communities. Other districts had operations abruptly halted, with revenues also halted. Special districts, like our partners at cities and counties, are delivering essential services to California’s communities. However, unlike cities and counties, special districts been excluded in state and federal funding determinations to date. COVID-19 Impacts on the Nation's Special Districts
CSDA, in partnership with the National Special Districts Coalition, surveyed special districts across the country regarding COVID-19 impacts. Based on the survey, special districts collectively are anticipating a $30.5 billion impact due to revenue losses and expenditures related to the pandemic. Nearly 15,000 special districts across the country are facing the likelihood or uncertainty of reducing essential workforce, and 58 percent facing the same in providing services to their communities.New This information is a resource to share with federal representatives as special districts continue advocacy on the Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act and the push for its inclusion in the pending federal relief package. To see these results click here.
Results from the most recent CSDA survey of COVID-19 impacts on special districts are now available. Overall, special districts are resilient and fiscally prudent and continue to fulfill their mission to deliver critical services and operate critical infrastructure California communities rely upon despite the effects of the current health crisis. However, while just 24% of districts indicated they will be experiencing significant budgetary challenges by June 2020, that number increases to 76% by June 2021 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 so districts can continue to stand ready and resilient against the next disaster.
This survey was a follow up to the April survey CSDA conducted to evaluate the immediate impacts COVID-19 had on special districts, constituents, and communities. To see these results click here.As we continue to face the impacts of COVID-19 together, CSDA is actively working with the Governor, State Legislature, and Congress to access resources for special districts. Determinations as to how billions of dollars in state and federal aid will be distributed is happening now, in real time, and CSDA is utilizing this current data to advocate on your behalf. Please contact your state leaders and ask for their support in including special districts in any future local government funding and let them know your district’s story about COVID-19 response and impacts.
Download this sample letter to communicate special district COVID-19 impacts to your Senate(s) and Assembly member(s) and request their support in accessing fiscal assistance.
H.R. 7073 Support Letter
S. 4308 Support Letter
Call or email your federal and state representatives to convey the urgent needs their special district constituents face during COVID-19. Share your story and the impacts of the pandemic on districts across the state.
Click here for instructions on how to contact your representatives.
Special District ExamplesSpecial districts across the state have been adapting to COVID-19 to best serve their communities. This document provides only a few examples of how special districts are meeting the moment and responding to the pandemic.
All formal CSDA advocacy letters related to COVID-19 will be updated to this page in real-time. As CSDA builds on these efforts, members will be asked to Take Action by providing feedback and submitting letters or making calls to state or federal representatives.
Contact CSDA’s COVID-19 State Advocacy Lead
Contact CSDA’s COVID-19 Federal Advocacy Lead
Join CSDA's Expert Feedback Team to help guide CSDA's future advocacy on this and other similar issues