PENDLETON – The third COVID-19 stimulus package to come out of Congress fixes a problem that many county officials say was unfair. Earlier funding went to the state to be distributed to the counties. It is contended that funding that was meant to help at a local level was not what was received.
“Our share was all sent to the state, which was supposed to be passed through, which wasn’t passed through,” Umatilla County Board of Commissioners Chairman George Murdock said.
The National Association of Counties and Sen. Ron Wyden both worked to ensure that this time around the funds would go where intended. Murdock said the county is expected to receive more than $15 million in two payments.
“One payment is within 60 days of passage and another is a year from that,” Murdock said. “It has to be expended by 2024.” Wyden’s office also provided Murdock with the figures anticipated for cities within the county. Hermiston ($3.6 million) and Pendleton ($3.4 million) get the largest. Umatilla is just under $1.5 million, while Milton-Freewater is approximately $1.4 million.