The Fulton County Board of Commissioners has announced it will host a special called meeting with the county’s mayors Aug. 28 to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and the disbursement of federal funds associated with it.
All but one of Fulton’s 15 cities are threatening to sue the county over the low amount of federal coronavirus relief funds they’re receiving from Fulton. The meeting will take place virtually at 10 a.m.
The city of Atlanta has already received its own funds ($88 million) directly from the feds and likely won’t be involved in the lawsuit. The other cities were due to receive a $2.5 million total in reimbursement monies for pandemic-related expenses they’ve incurred, as its share of the county’s $104 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds.
But that number jumped by about $13 million after the board voted 4-1 at its Aug. 19 recess meeting to approve increasing Fulton’s cities’ share of the monies to about $15 million. The allocation will be distributed evenly based on each city’s population.
“I think it gives the individual municipalities some security that their expenses will be made whole,” said District 2 Fulton Commissioner Bob Ellis, who motioned for the funding increase to $15 million.
The day before that meeting, Mayor Rusty Paul announced at the Sandy Springs City Council meeting the lawsuit is a possibility.
“We’re now pursing litigation more to force a conversation,” he said. “I don’t see there’s any way Fulton County can spend its money on what it’s supposed to spend money for without reimbursing the cities.”
In an Aug. 19 interview, Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker provided more information on why Fulton’s cities are considering the lawsuit.
“I think I would characterize it as there was an expectation and a demand on how much sharing would happen with the cities and counties for the CARES Act funding, and Fulton has been reluctant to share the money it received,” Bodker said.
When told by a reporter that the Fulton Board of Commissioners was voting at its Aug. 19 recess meeting to add just under $13 million in funds to the $2.5 million it had already allocated, he said, “It’s a step in the right direction but not the amount we hoped for.”
The public can view the meeting by visiting www.fultoncountyga.gov/watch-fgtv.