The National Association of Counties (NACo) has sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to prioritize federal investments in crucial local government activities through the fiscal 2024 appropriations process. In addition, NACo urges Congress to finalize fiscal year 2024 appropriations without delay to stave off a potential government shutdown.
The letter includes top priorities for counties, including an urgent call to fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which is approaching exhaustion.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, when the DRF is projected to be insufficient, FEMA must prioritize lifesaving and life-sustaining activities and pause obligations not necessary for lifesaving and life-sustaining activities like hazard mitigation projects.
In addition, NACo calls on Congress to prioritize funding for critical behavioral health and mental health programs, the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, permanent funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), funding for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) authorized election security grants, and the extension of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program.
From the letter:
Annually, counties invest over $600 billion in our communites, including $134 billion in building, maintaining and operating public facilities, such as courthouses, dams and reservoirs, water purification systems, libraries, ports and sewage treatment facilities. We build our communites as intergovernmental partners, as these investments are through a mix of local revenue and federal funds.
Counties are uniquely positioned to implement and administer vital intergovernmental systems, facilitate cooperation of all levels of government, and deliver results and impact for our residents and businesses at the community level.