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Document: Cole County CARES Act Funding Requests Approved Oct. 15, 2020

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The Cole County Commission approved distributing $68,518 in federal COVID-19 relief funds — including funds for five nonprofit agencies — on Thursday.

The Special Learning Center was approved for $3,041 to upgrade its video surveillance system for contact tracing, additional cleaning services and personal protective equipment.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson City will get $1,558 to pay for hardware for telehealth and social services.

The Jefferson City Area YMCA was approved for $25,000, the maximum amount a single agency can receive. The money will pay for cleaning supplies, increased staffing for social distancing and paying for staff in quarantine.

The Historic City of Jefferson was approved for $4,819 for telework technology.

The Jefferson City Rape and Abuse Crisis Service's request for the maximum $25,000 was approved, to pay for COVID-19 adaptions made to its facility.

Initially, both Cole County Public Water Supply District No. 4 and Missouri Electric Cooperatives had applied for CARES Act funds as nonprofit agencies. Officials with BKD, the Springfield accounting firm assisting the county in meetings its obligations under the CARES Act, said they did not qualify for funds. However, commissioners believed the organizations should be considered small businesses and approved funds for both entities as such.

Cole County Public Water Supply District No. 4 will receive $4,100 for work on a glass window barrier at its offices.

Missouri Electric Cooperatives will receive the maximum amount for a single small business, $5,000, to help pay for distance training learning.

Commissioners also asked BKD to look at categorizing Lincoln University as a school rather than a nonprofit agency.

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Initially, the commission had said public and private K-12 schools would be the only education facilities considered for CARES Act funding, but when Lincoln University was categorized as a nonprofit agency, officials asked it be changed.

Commissioners wanted to approve LU's funding requests, which included $25,000 for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, PPE and other public health expenditures, along with $12,500 for technology to help with distance learning. As this would put the university over the $25,000 individual limit for nonprofits, commissioners asked BKD to see about categorizing LU in educational funding so it could qualify for more funds.

BKD officials plan to give more details next week on applications from Capital Region Health Center and St. Mary's Hospital.

CRMC has applied for funding to help pay costs incurred for the hospital's mobile COVID-19 testing site and other testing-related expenditures. Currently, that amount is more than $1.1 million and includes some payroll costs. CRMC officials said in September alone, the hospital did approximately 4,000 COVID tests, 56 percent of which were for Cole County residents, BKD officials said. Each test costs $100 to perform, and the hospital is reimbursed about $90 from insurance or other funds.

Commissioners have said they want to pay for Cole County residents' COVID-19 testing first before considering funding tests for residents from other counties at the two Jefferson City hospitals.

SSM Health's application for St. Mary's Hospital requests for $319,892 and does not include payroll costs, only testing expenses incurred between March and August such as kits, tents and workstations.

Although they gave no formal decision, commissioners appeared to have backed away from a $328,635 proposal from Community Health Center of Central Missouri for a 33-foot mobile trailer to be used for COVID-19 testing after CHCCM officials confirmed it would take five to six months for the vehicle to get here. By CARES Act guidelines, the money would have to be spent by March 31.

Commissioners also agreed to let Jefferson City apply for a maximum amount of $834,039 to cover payroll costs for employees who deal with public health and safety. Cole County Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle made the recommendation, and Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman and Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher said they were in favor.

The commission on Tuesday had held off approving several items requested by Jefferson City, asking BKD officials to work with the city to provide more details.

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Scheperle said this approach was similar to how the Jefferson City School District made its funding request — asking for one large sum, $807,200, to pay a portion of a large-ticket item, outsourced tuition for online curriculum, rather than requesting funds to pay for smaller items.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin and City Administrator Steve Crowell were at Thursday's County Commission meeting and said they would support the proposal and would submit an application for the funds.

Crowell said this would also allow Jefferson City to pursue other funding sources to pay for other COVID-19-related expenses the city has incurred. Tergin asked, and commissioners agreed, that the city could still be eligible for more CARES Act funds if they become available.

The commission set aside $1 million in CARES Act funds for municipalities in the county, with funding levels to be based on a community's population. Because Jefferson City is the largest city in Cole County, it was to receive a total of $895,352. Prior to Thursday, the commission approved $61,313 in CARES Act funding requests for Jefferson City to pay for equipment such as PPE, medical supplies and technology for telework capabilities. The $834,039 the commission agreed to fund Thursday would cover the remaining funding Jefferson City was eligible to receive.

Going into Thursday, the commission had over $6.6 million remaining in CARES Act funds to distribute of the $9 million the county received.

The commission approved $68,518 in applications Thursday, leaving $6.56 million in available CARES Act funds for the county.

Tuesday's CARES Act funding recipients identified

The commission also approved CARES Act funding applications from five small businesses Tuesday, as reported by the News Tribune on Wednesday.

The names of the businesses were not given during Tuesday's meeting, and the county was not able to identify the recipients Tuesday because BKD was behind in processing applications approved by the commission.

Three businesses received the maximum amount the commission had set for individual applications from small businesses, at $5,000. These included Southbank A Gift Company, JQ's on High and Sweet Smoke BBQ, all located on East High Street in Jefferson City.

Ana Marie's Bridal on East High Street received $3,792, and Capital City Elderly Limited Partnership on Myrtle Avenue received $1,034.

The money went toward costs such as rent and utilities during the first six weeks of the pandemic when businesses were shut down, personal protective equipment, as well as COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

On a 2-1 vote, the commission also approved a proposal from the city of Russellville for $6,986 for office retrofits along with PPE and cleaning supplies.

Russellville also was not identified Tuesday as the municipality receiving the funding. Bushman and Hoelscher voted in favor of the city's request, and Scheperle voted against.

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