Clark County governments receive millions more in CARES Act funds

Millions of more dollars have been allocated to local governments in Clark County as state officials have released more federal relief dollars to help areas reeling from impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The money comes from a bill signed this month by Gov. Mike DeWine that directs an additional $650 million of Ohio’s portion of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to local governments.

It follows a similar bill that was signed by the governor in June that released about $525 million of those funds to counties, municipalities and townships in the state. In total, there have been three rounds of CARES Act funding to those governments coming from both bills passed in the state.

The city of Springfield and the governmental body of Clark County have received the largest portions of those federal relief dollars in the county. As a result of both those bills, Springfield has been allocated a total of about $5.2 million, while the county government has received roughly $7.5 million.

The funding cannot be used to fill in gaps in general fund budgets due to a drop in tax collections and other revenue sources for local governments. Instead, previous allocations were to be directed at unexpected costs stemming directly from the pandemic.

The city of Springfield was awarded about $3 million in CARES Act money over the two rounds of funding. The third round, using money released this month from House Bill 614, gave out another $2.1 million to the city.

In Springfield, CARES Act allocations have gone towards mainly covering payroll expenses for city firefighters and police officers. Those expenses relate to hours brought on due to the pandemic, as well as overtime and quarantine leave, said Mark Beckdahl, the city’s finance director.

He said that about $3 million is to be used at this time to reimburse those expenditures.

Clark County’s governmental entity received around $2.7 Million from the first two rounds of funding. The third round called for the allocation of an additional $4.8 million, according to the Clark County Auditor’s office.

“We can use some of that money to develop programs that help distribute it out to the community,” said Clark County Commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt.

The new money will allow for the creation of two programs by the county to help residents as well as small businesses impacted by both the pandemic and statewide measures enacted to help curb its spread.

One will focus on providing rent and utility assistance for those who have experienced financial disruptions due to the pandemic. Those disruptions could include being laid off or having reduced hours, resulting in a loss of income.

The program will be similar to the one that is already being implemented for Springfield residents. The latter is the result of a partnership between the city and the Neighborhood Housing Partnership to provide rental and utility assistance.

County commissioners wanted to establish a similar program that would help other residents in the county that are experiencing similar issues.

Wilt said the county’s program will be funded using a minimum of $200,000 in federal relief dollars and the idea is to provide those impacted with up to $1,000 a month to go towards rent and utility payments. She said a limit of how many months residents could apply for help has not been established at this point.

Wilt said the program would be administered by the county government. She said that they are hoping to have the program launched within the next couple of weeks.

Another program that will be established by the county using CARES Act money is one that will provide grants to local small businesses with under 50 employees. That program will also be funded with a minimum of $200,000 and will allow those businesses impacted by the pandemic to apply for grants of up to $15,000, Wilt added.

The county has made previous reimbursements using CARES Act allocations. The first phase of reimbursements amounted to about $769,000 and covered mainly payroll expenses that were directly related to the pandemic.

The second reimbursement amounted to $1.3 million primarily due to a number of updates that were made to the county’s network system as employees transitioned to working from home at the beginning of the pandemic.

By the Numbers:

$5.2 million: Amount of CARES Act funding allocated in total to the city of Springfield

$7.5 million: Amount of CARES Act funding allocated in total to the governmental entity of Clark County

2: New pandemic relief programs being established by Clark County with CARES Act funding

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