The Leavenworth County government soon could receive federal funding to help pay for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government will be providing counties with funding that was awarded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
County Administrator Mark Loughry discussed the process for securing the funding for the county Wednesday during a meeting of the Leavenworth County Commission.
Loughry said commissioners have been pushing the state government to release C.A.R.E.S. Act funds they believed had been designated for local governments.
Gov. Laura Kelly put together a Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Taskforce for distributing money the state received as a result of the C.A.R.E.S. Act. And on Tuesday, the State Finance Council approved the distribution of $400 million in funding for local governments in Kansas.
Loughry said counties may receive $194 per resident. But he said Leavenworth County could receive additional funding because of its unemployment rate and the number COVID-19 cases that have been reported in the county.
He said Leavenworth County could receive up to $15 million. But he seemed skeptical about the county ultimately receiving this much.
“We’ll get some of it,” he said.
Loughry said the plan is for the state to release half of the funding directly to counties to be used for expenses related to the pandemic. The other half of the funding will be provided as reimbursement for expenses.
He said money the county could receive the first round of funding around July 13. He said commissioners will have to pass a resolution in order to receive the money.
Loughry said the current proposal from the state calls for county officials to submit plans by Sept. 15 explaining how the funding will be spent.
“We’ve also got to distribute it to the cities, correct?” Commission Chairman Doug Smith said.
Loughry said he believes it was the intent of the federal government for a portion of the funding to be distributed to city governments, but he said this is not mandated.
Loughry said it has always been the intent of the Leavenworth County commissioners to distribute portions of the funding to cities within the county.
He said the city governments will have to provide the county with plans for how they intend to spend the money they receive.
Commissioner Mike Stieben asked if C.A.R.E.S. Act funding provided to the county can be used to assist small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Loughry said there are guidelines for C.A.R.E.S. Act funding that are clear and some that are not so clear. But the county administrator said he believes this type of use of the funding would be allowed for businesses that can demonstrate they have been impacted by COVID-19.