Second Round of CARES Act Small Business Relief Funding Available

Commissioner Frank Gross reminds department heads to document CARES Act spending processes.

Karen Newman

 Following the close of the first round of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for small business relief, the Clay County Commissioners authorized a second phase of funding for businesses employing 21-50 full-time employees.

According to Clay County Administrator Stephen Larson and Human Resources Director Darren Brooke, who reported on behalf of Clay County’s CARES Act Committee, the first round of funding for small business relief targeted businesses with fewer than ten full-time employees. 137 applications were approved, 13 were denied, with a final total of $981,000 in grants awarded from the initial pool of $2.25 million.

For the second phase, Clay County Information Services Director Mark Sloan said that the City of Moorhead and Clay County will work together on an application process for grants to businesses employing 21-50 employees. $719,000 will be available for the second phase grants.

Commissioner Jenny Mongeau said, “When we started this, we put parameters on because we didn’t really know how many applications we would have. It’s been a great partnership with Moorhead for the first round.  Seeing as how there were dollars left over, we really did feel it was important to continue to broaden the scope to get grant dollars to the folks that really need it the most.” The second round of small business relief funds will be available to businesses county-wide.

County Administrator Stephen Larson added, “Very early on in the committee discussions, the importance of business relief was identified as one of the main goals of our committee.”

County Human Resources Director Darren Brooke reported that since the initial phase of applications for small business relief is closed, the CARES Act Committee decided to move to a targeted second phase concentrating on long-term care facilities. Because elder care facilities employ more people than the small business  grants allow, the CARES ACT committee recommended shifting $550,000 in Small Business Relief dollars to the Community Resiliency allotment specifically to be used for grants for this targeted audience.

In further action, the county board approved a $1,200 CARES Act funding request from Family Service Building Manager Georgia Beaudry for installation of a large drop-box outside the building to safely receive documentation required for clients of services housed in the building.   The Auditor/Treasurer’s office received approval for the $24,000 purchase of an accounts payable management system compatible with current software. Remodeling projects for the Family Service Center to provide safely distanced meeting areas for client meetings were approved.

Public Health Director Kathy McKay presented plans to remodel an existing county shed to meet requirements for storing Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines the department uses, the equipment and space to administer them, as well as parking bays for vehicles. The county board approved $88,000 for the fully insulated building with a note that there would be further charges for drainage.

County Commissioner Frank Gross reminded department heads present that attention to documentation is vital so that an accurate final report of CARES Act spending may be compiled.

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