COVID-19 Relief Funding

Anticipated $100 Million Special District Relief Fund Disbursement Timeline

The extended deadline for this fund closed October 29, 2021. According to the Department of Finance (DOF) webpage, DOF will review all applications and calculate the allocations by the first week of November. The allocations will be shared with the State Controller’s Officed (SCO), who will then disburse the funds to the county auditor-controllers by the second week of December. Each county auditor controller must allocate the funds to the independent special districts in their county, within 30 days of receipt of funding from the SCO. Please anticipate these dates may be pushed out by two weeks to account for the extended deadline.

Disbursement Timeline*
Applications open Friday, October 1, 2021
Applications due - new date Friday, October 29, 2021
Finance application review and allocation calculation Friday, November 5, 2021
Submit final allocations to SCO Friday, November 12, 2021
Submit final allocations to county auditor-controllers Friday, November 12, 2021
SCO disburses payments to county auditor-controllers Thursday, December 9, 2021
County auditor-controllers disburse payments within 30 days of receipt of funding Friday, January 7, 2022

* Actual dates of timeline subject to change

County Toolkit

Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, California counties received direct allocations from the federal government for COVID-19 relief funding. While special districts did not receive the same access to funding, the ARP did grant counties with specific transfer authority to provide special districts with a portion of their ARP allocations, similar to the transfer authority granted to the State.

Should a district be successful in securing county assistance, such funding is not expected to render special districts ineligible for the $100 million state COVID-19 relief funding for special districts. However, relief funding received from a county is expected to be deducted from the overall amount of relief the district could receive from the State.

Many counties are currently engaged in the decision-making process to establish their ARP funding priorities and special districts are encouraged to contact their County Executive/Administrative Officers and Board of Supervisors as soon as possible to relay the need for funding of critical infrastructure and other essential services eligible under the ARP.

CSDA has developed the following tools for communicating special district needs to your county. Below is a form that will help you demonstrate and document expenditures and revenue losses incurred as a result of the pandemic to submit to your county and a template letter to send to request the relief.

*This tool utilizes Microsoft Forms to organize your district’s information. The email used for Microsoft Outlook may be used to log into the form. Should you experience difficulty accessing the online form, click here to access a Word document outline.

Access Form Download Letter

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.