Have local governments failed in response to the latest pandemic?
The purpose of the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Program is to provide federal grants to States to assist State, local, territorial, and tribal governments in preparing for all hazards. Title VI of the Stafford Act authorizes FEMA to make grants for the purpose of providing a system of emergency preparedness for the protection of life and property in the United States from hazards and to vest responsibility for emergency preparedness jointly in the federal government and the states and their political subdivisions.
So, the money has been available, and localities have been taking it, yet what they have been doing with it is dubious.
In an interview from January 2019, Georgetown Professor Steven Hatfill warned of a new flu pandemic in U.S., and how local governments were not going to be prepared: