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As you probably know, shortly after the pandemic started in late March, our federal government passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. It was a $2.2 trillion measure to provide economic relief because of the Coronavirus shut down. Many of us know about the act because it helped with unemployment, and also gave many American’s a direct $1200 payment. However, one other part of the CARES Act was giving money to each of our counties to be used for economic recovery. The amount of money given to each county was determccained at the state level based on population.
The CARES Act money given to the counties can be used for: Healthcare costs, broadband accessibility and affordability programs to facilitate distance learning and telehealth, locally-targeted training programs for unemployed or furloughed workers, funding county or city-level economic recovery planning, aligned with the Governor’s Show Me Strong Recovery Plan, financial assistance for local hospitals, and establishing or strengthening financial assistance programs for local businesses who sustained losses due to the shutdown of their businesses.
In Northeast Missouri, our counties received quite a bit of money:
Adair – $2,973,240
Chariton – $871,218
Clark – $797,424
Knox – $464,470
Lewis – $1,146,920
Linn – $1,398,454
Marion – $3,347,138
Macon – $1,773,526
Pike – $2,147,190
Ralls – $1,209,451
Randolph – $2,903,434
Schuyler – $546,711
Scotland – $575,102
Shelby – $695,707
I know this is a completely unprecedented time that we are living in. Deciding how to distribute the money and in what format to accept application has been quite a task. Each county has worked to define acceptable uses and also to be sure they are fair to all. Each county has in place a system which you can access. If you have questions about the funding or whether you qualify you should contact your county commission. Also, if you’re located in Audrain, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, or Shelby counties, information can be found on the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments web page.
I want to encourage our counties, not just in Northeast Missouri, but in the entire state, to allocate their money as soon as possible. This is an essential tool that we have at our disposal to help many of our local towns recover from the economic distress caused by the pandemic.
As always I appreciate hearing your perspective on this and other issues presented in my weekly column. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-7985. You may also email me at email@example.com.