Massachusetts cities and towns have until June 5 to submit applications for their share of $502 million in federal funds that the Baker administration is making available on a rolling basis to address eligible costs related to the COVID-19 response effort.

At the time of the May 14 announcement, the administration said the distribution, plus funds allocated directly to Boston and Plymouth County, represented about 25 percent of the state's $2.7 billion allocation from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

"We anticipate that in most cases, these funds will be sufficient to address incurred or expected eligible COVID-related expenses, while maintaining necessary flexibility to allocate additional funds if unanticipated needs arise, or if federal rules change," Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan wrote in a memo that also featured a spreadsheet breaking down the amount of fiscal 2020 and 2021 aid that each of the state's cities and towns are eligible for under the CARES Act measure.

According to Heffernan, the funds can help cities and towns address deficits without drawing from their reserves, ease municipal cash flow pressures, and enable both the state and its municipalities to maximize available federal funds. Under federal law, the funds must be used to address spending incurred on or after March 1 and up to Dec. 30, 2020 and to address necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The funds may not be used to substitute for lost revenue and may not supplant state or municipal spending, according to Heffernan's memo.

The $2.7 billion allocation of state and local government aid in Massachusetts under the CARES Act was designed to help government here address some of the costs associated with the pandemic response. Fierce debate and lobbying is continuing over more state and local government aid proposed in a $3 trillion bill approved by the U.S. House and awaiting a response from the U.S. Senate. - Michael P. Norton/SHNS | 5/22/20 12:34 PM