The distribution of $2.3 million from the CARES Act of the Coronavirus Relief Fund has aided local businesses, churches and other entities around Nodaway County.
Nodaway County Collector Treasurer Marilyn Jenkins said the money was used to buy supplies and other items for local entities.
Jenkins explained that the funds the county received from the U.S. government had to be spent on items that would supplement businesses affected by the coronavirus.
“Me and my office, we bought, in quantity, masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, wipes, cleaners,” Jenkins said.
She explained that if anyone in the county is in need of any mitigation items, they should call her office and she will distribute the items as needed.
In a document from Jenkins, the Coronavirus Relief Fund Guidance for State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal Governments, the requirements to receive funds are laid out by the federal government.
The U.S. government requires that the funds be used to supplement any unforeseen expenditures incurred because of the pandemic. The document also states that the funds can cover costs of items that were not budgeted by the enactment date of the CARES Act, which was March 27, 2020. Lastly, to receive funds, it is required that these costs be incurred from March 1, 2020 to Dec. 30, 2020.
Jenkins broke down the purchases made with the funds into categories. The coronavirus mitigation items were labeled as office supplies. The county spent $110,063.98 in aid on office supplies.
The office supplies were bought for everyone in the county, including local schools.
Jenkins said the county held meetings with superintendents of local schools in July to see how the CARES Act funds could be used to help the schools. The superintendents gave the county some ideas of different kinds of supplies they would need. From there, Jenkins noted the county took the top five things the schools would need when school started and made the purchases and distributed the items.
“As a county we decided to do supplies for schools,” Jenkins said. “That was one of the first meetings we had.”
Equipment, including UV lights, water coolers, handheld sprayers and purifiers, were purchased for the schools along with COVID-19 mitigation supplies. The county spent $287,093.47 in aid on equipment.
The county also allocated $5,799.10 of the aid to Northwest's University Police Department under material costs. The funds for UPD went toward the digging of new fiber lines to provide better signal for 911 calls made to the department.
Nodaway County also received reimbursements for COVID-19 related purchases in two forms: COVID-19 taxing entity reimbursements which totalled $1.1 million and the COVID-19 Civic Organization Grant which totalled $33,898.88.
Jenkins said the county provided some local businesses with COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants, which provided eligible businesses up to $5,000 to put toward things such as utility bills or other expenditures accumulated throughout the pandemic. The county spent a total of $798,722.41 on small business grants.
Jenkins noted that anyone who wanted to receive funds had to fill out an application, which was created and reviewed by the county along with the Nodaway County Economic Development Corporation.
These applications were used to guide the county in deciding if what the entity asked for was within the guidelines provided by the U.S. government.
Jenkins said she, along with other members of the county, were looking to help the community in any way they could. She said some businesses are up to $50,000 to $60,000 worth of loss and needed some form of assistance.
“We (the county) had to set some kind of guidelines and a dollar amount,” Jenkins said. “We just stayed with $5,000. We know that wasn’t enough to cover their losses, but we wanted to help more people.”
Executive Director of Nodaway County Economic Development Josh McKim said he was one of the people who helped handle applications for the Small Business Relief Grants.
“I was very impressed with the county’s leadership and willingness to create a grant program for small businesses that’s out of the box in many ways,” McKim said.
He noted the installation of the grant was a very progressive action taken by the county when they saw that the community was struggling amid the pandemic.
McKim also noted that the county created the Shop Small campaign in October 2020 that is being used to sustain local small businesses in the long run.
McKim and Jenkins knew the $5,000 grants would not last long for the businesses that had incurred thousands of dollars in debt due to the pandemic. The Shop Small campaign was created to encourage people to shop locally to support struggling businesses.
“From that standpoint — my involvement in the CARES funds and the local administration of the CARES funds — they did a fantastic job,” McKim said.