Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) urged Senate passage of direct relief for Georgia’s small- and medium-sized cities, towns, and counties, following discussions with local leaders who reported that prior COVID-19 relief legislation had neglected smaller localities.
Local governments across Georgia face dire budget shortfalls, undermining public safety and public health during the pandemic.
Since taking office last week, Ossoff has spoken with dozens of mayors and local leaders about their communities’ most urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayors consistently urged Sen. Ossoff to fight for budgetary support for localities, whose provision of public services like public safety, fire, and public health is at risk during the crisis.
Responding to those local concerns, Ossoff is urging inclusion in the upcoming COVID-19 relief bill of the “Direct Support for Communities Act” legislation he has co-sponsored, which would deliver direct federal assistance to smaller cities, towns, villages, and counties.
“As I’ve spoken with mayors and local leaders across Georgia, it’s clear that Georgia’s smaller cities, counties, towns, and rural communities have not received the federal support they need and deserve. I am fighting for funding to sustain vital local services and save jobs across Georgia, and will keep communities updated of progress as I fight for inclusion of this funding for local communities in upcoming COVID relief legislation,” said Senator Ossoff.
Today, local leaders across the state voiced their support for Ossoff’s efforts in Washington.
“Cuthbert and so many of Georgia’s small rural towns have been hit the hardest by this pandemic, yet we have been left to fend for ourselves without critical funding necessary to sustain our local governments. This bill would deliver life-saving support to communities like ours across the state, and I thank Senator Ossoff for fighting for us,” said Cuthbert Mayor Steve Whatley.
“Cities, towns and villages have been the backbone of the American economy long before the on-going health and economic crisis. I’ve been calling on Congress for months to provide more direct economic relief to Savannah and all of Georgia’s cities and towns — especially the smaller ones who did not receive CARES Act funding. Senator Ossoff has listened to our concerns, and I’m glad he’s working to deliver Savannah and all of Georgia’s cities and towns the critical relief we need,” said Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, II.
“This pandemic has taken a huge toll on Athens-Clarke County and created enormous demands for community aid and support. I relayed these concerns to Senator Ossoff, and I’m glad to see he is already working hard to support Georgia’s local governments. I hope Congress comes together to pass this,” said Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz.
“Augusta’s businesses and her citizens have been hit hard by this pandemic, and we’re counting on the federal government to step in to ensure municipalities receive direct help and funding during this unprecedented time. It’s encouraging to see that Senator Ossoff understands the challenges cities are facing and that he’s working hard to move things forward on our behalf,” said Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr.