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Rural Arizona Towns Ask For Relief Funding

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The mayors of several rural Arizona communities say they’ve been left out of COVID-19 relief funding by the federal and state governments. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

The federal CARES Act funneled nearly 3 billion dollars to Arizona. A third of this went directly to the state’s three largest cities and Pima and Maricopa counties. But cities smaller than 500,000 people aren’t eligible for a direct payment. Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans spoke about the issue at a press conference. Flagstaff’s population is just over seventy thousand people.

Evans says, "It is absolutely critical that small Arizona cities and towns that are under 500,000 in population be funded directly, so we can continue to maintain the high level of services that our residents expect."

Evans added the state of Arizona is taking too long to distribute the federal funding where it’s needed. She joined six other Arizona mayors in a letter to Senator Martha McSally, saying the funding shortfalls threaten essential services in rural areas, including police officers and firefighters.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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