The Leavenworth County administrator has sent a letter to the governor demanding she release a portion of the funding that was provided to the state through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
County Administrator Mark Loughry mailed the letter to Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday on behalf of the county commissioners.
Commissioners authorized the letter when they met earlier in the week.
According to Loughry, the C.A.R.E.S. Act included the allocation of funding for COVID-19-related expenses for state and local governments. The state government received $1.25 billion as a result of the federal law. The state’s two largest counties were able to directly apply to the federal government for funding. But other counties are relying on the distribution of funds from the state.
Using a federal formula, county officials argue $15.785 million of the C.A.R.E.S. funding provided to the state should be allocated for Leavenworth County. This includes money county officials believe should be provided to cities within Leavenworth County. County officials believe the county government’s share would be about $4.2 million.
“Since the onset of this pandemic Leavenworth County and the cities within Leavenworth County have been faced with the challenge of funding unexpected expenditures,” Loughry wrote in the letter. “Additionally, these expenses are ongoing and will continue to grow over the course of the year. These expenses come at a time when we are least able to absorb unbudgeted costs.”
According to the letter, county officials previously have asked for assistance in securing a portion of the funding that has been provided to the state, but they have not received a response.
“We believe it is unconscionable that the two largest counties in Kansas have received their funding weeks ago and we have yet to even hear how we can request ours from the state,” Loughry wrote in the letter.
Loughry states in the letter that “Leavenworth County makes an immediate demand” for the $15.785 million and asks for resolution of the issue by June 5.
If the state government fails to resolve the issue by that date, “Leavenworth County will take all available actions to protect our interest,” Loughry states in the letter.
The Leavenworth County Health Department announced Friday that confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county now total 1,082.
This number includes 819 cases involving Lansing Correctional Facility inmates and 67 cases involving inmates and staff at the Grossman Center halfway house in Leavenworth.
Of the remaining 196 cases, 58 are still considered active, according to an update from the Health Department.
Currently, one person from Leavenworth County is hospitalized because of COVID-19. Thirty-one people from the county have been hospitalized because of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Seven people from Leavenworth County, including four LCF inmates, have died from COVID-19.