HERMANN — The dozen or more business, non-profits or local government agencies seeking a piece of the final slice of available CARES Act funding will find themselves competing for small amounts …
HERMANN — The dozen or more business, non-profits or local government agencies seeking a piece of the final slice of available CARES Act funding will find themselves competing for small amounts of money after Gasconade County government takes the bulk of the remaining dollars.
County administrators last week approved using $40,325 for new sets of doors on the courthouse. They earlier approved using $3,300 for two water fountains designed for hands-free use — a move aimed at preventing spread of the coronavirus.
The doors on the main entrance will be opened by using a push button device — another measure aimed at curbing the virus. New doors planned for the north and east entrances will not be equipped with an automatic opener.
Contractor Glenn Englert, who has done extensive work at the courthouse in recent years, advised the County Commission that it could be late summer by the time he is able to install the doors.
With the allotments for the doors and the water fountains, county government will be using all but about $23,000 of the remaining $65,000 in CARES Act funds. According to the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), the agency that contracted with Gasconade County and six other counties in the 8-county region to administer CARES Act money, there are about a dozen other business, non-profit and local government entities applying for a share of the remaining CARES Act dollars.
The dozen or so pending applications were not processed after the CARES Act program hit its Dec. 30 deadline for dispensing Gasconade County’s $1.725-million allotment. But when it was realized that the county still had about $65,000 left over — and then received an extension until June 30 to allocate the remaining money — the Commission directed MRPC to process the applications.
Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel said Thursday morning he hopes the applications can be acted on sometime next month or possibly in early June.
Meanwhile, he said he has been receiving phone calls regarding the next round of federal stimulus money that will be coming to Gasconade County. The Commission now knows when the county will be receiving the first installment of its $2.852-million allotment, about $1.4 million.
“That money’s going to get here in the middle of May,” said County Clerk Lesa Lietzow.
The second half of the allotment will be received next year and the county will have until the end of 2024 to disperse the funds. What county officials don’t know are the guidelines for doling out the funds.
“It’s a wait and see. That’s the bottom line,” Miskel said.
Whatever the guidelines, county administrators appear poised to have MRPC administer the new funding as it did the CARES Act money. And with $1 million more this time around just in Gasconade County funding, MRPC would face a significant task if it administers the money for most, if not all, of the counties within the region. Indeed, Miskel, the president of the MRPC Board of Directors, said the regional planning agency is taking steps to add staff to handle increased work resulting from the incoming federal dollars.
There are two interesting aspects to this round of funding: First, the money is coming to the county directly from the federal government, not being passed down through state government as with the CARES Act dollars; and, second, municipalities will be receiving their own share of funding from the federal government and won’t have to apply — along with businesses, non-profit organizations and other local government entities — for a portion of the dollars as they did regarding CARES Act money.