Mike Farber

Mike Farber, chief of the Superstition Fire & Medical District.

FLORENCE — A fire chief says special services districts were slighted in the first round of federal COVID-19 funding, and he is asking the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to help remedy the matter.

Mike Farber, chief of the Superstition Fire & Medical District, told the board Wednesday that special districts were left out of the early rounds of U.S. CARES Act funding for expenses related to COVID-19.

The latest law says special districts “should” receive funding, but they would be left out again without the supervisors’ actions.

Farber said his department had 3,162 hours of COVID sick time and had spent $250,000 on overtime as of late last year to maintain staffing. Total COVID-19-related expenses to the department are more than $832,440, he said, and he asked for “our fair share to maintain effective fire and emergency medical services.”

Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, said the board would ask county staff to follow up as the money comes in and see what the board is able to do. Supervisor Jeff Serdy, R-Apache Junction, said he hopes the board will “highly prioritize” those needs when those funds become available.

Pinal County should receive nearly $45 million toward the end of next month, the first half of its funding in the COVID-19 stimulus package known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The U.S. Treasury Department should be providing guidance on how the money can be spent shortly before it arrives, the board was told previously.

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