The Twin Cities are eligible to receive more than $800,000 in COVID-19 response funds from the state, including money Lewiston plans to earmark to support the new Mainer community.

Gov. Janet Mills

Announced by Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Friday, involving 100 municipalities and a total of $9 million in federal funding, Lewiston is eligible for the second highest amount in the state, $475,360, and Auburn the third highest at $354,443.

Each city will be able to request reimbursement up to those amounts for public health and educational campaigns under the Keep Maine Healthy Plan. The money can also be used to help small businesses meet public health guidelines as they reopen.

“Now we can actually get reimbursed and, in a sense, get the taxpayers reimbursed now for following through with the governor’s executive orders,” Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque said Friday after the announcement. “And more importantly, we can now provide direct relief grants to businesses to help them prepare and prevent future outbreaks as they reopen.”

Lewiston City Manager Ed Barrett said Lewiston will dedicate part of its funding to help local organizations educate the new Mainer community about COVID-19. “Certainly (helping the new Mainer community) is one of the focuses of our effort,” he said.

Community leaders recently expressed frustration with the slow pace of support from the city and state for dealing with the coronavirus.

In total, the state will reimburse nearly 100 municipalities with $9 million of the federal funding received from the coronavirus virus relief bill. The federal Department of Health and Human Services is considering offering a second round of funding to municipalities.

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