The Sandy Springs City Council Oct. 6 approved an intergovernmental agreement with Fulton County that will enable the city to be reimbursed for $4.57 million in federal pandemic relief funds. 

Fulton County received $104 million in April allocated by Gov. Brian Kemp based on the county’s population. But the County Commission initially only planned to distribute $2.5 million for all 13 cities in the county – excluding Atlanta, which received its own Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds.

The new Sandy Springs city logo.

After the 13 cities agreed to pursue more funds through the courts if necessary, a meeting with the commission was held virtually. The county later voted to increase its total distribution to the cities to $25 million, which put the city’s new figure at $4.57 million.

City Manager Andrea Surratt said the city has spent more than $5.5 million in the few months it has been calculating pandemic expenditures. As the pandemic continues, the amount could be several million dollars more, she said.

Under federal guidelines based on population, the 13 cities should have received approximately 70% of the $104 million, Mayor Rusty Paul said.

“We tried to do better, but this is about as good as we’re going to do,” he said.

Paul said one good thing that came out of the struggle for funds is that it forced the county to come back to the table and begin working on common problems. He said that that had not happened since negotiations for a transportation special local option sales tax.

Surratt and city staff have been preparing records to claim the reimbursements of expenditures used to purchase goods, supplies, and equipment during the COVID-19 state of emergency from March 1 to Dec. 15. The county told Paul they should expect to receive the reimbursement funds in the next 30 days after submitting the city’s request.

Paul told Councilmember Tibby DeJulio it’s unlikely that the city will get additional CARES Act funds. That would hold true even if the county gets paid back for funding it spent in Atlanta, which had its own CARES Act allocation.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.