The Phelps County Commission has received $5,229,302 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic (CARES) Act, and is now ready to begin accepting applications from cities, political subdivisions and public agencies for reimbursable COVID-19 expenses that they have incurred, beginning March 1, 2020. The county can reimburse costs up to Dec. 30. Any funds not spent must be returned to the U.S. Treasury.
Meramec Regional Planning Commission has been assisting Phelps County and the other seven counties in the Meramec Region review the act, develop an application and administrative process that would meet audit requirements. MRPC staff will be handling the grant administration for Phelps County.
MRPC has created a webpage on its website where Phelps County application information can be found. That URL is https://www.meramecregion.org/cares-act-funding-opportunity-for-meramec-counties/.
“We are most anxious to get this relief assistance out in the county as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Phelps County Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp said. “The county commission is pleased that MRPC will be using its many years of experience in dealing with the complexities of government grant funding to ensure that we do it right.”
Under the CARES Act, counties can provide grants to businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption cause by required closures. The U.S. Treasury has provided very little guidance on this provision. Phelps County is awaiting additional federal guidance before it offers a business grant program.
Disbursement of CARES Act funds must be directly related to expenses from COVID-19 incurred during the period that begins March 1 and ends December 30 that were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27 for the state or government entity. Reimbursable expenses can include payroll expenses for public safety, public health and health care, expenses to improve telework capabilities, expenses of providing paid sick and paid family and medical leave to public employees or expenses and expenditures related to the provision of grants to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures.
Each applicant must complete a certification form, where they agree to comply with funding requirements, including repaying the reimbursement grant if the expenditure is deemed ineligible in the future. The application asks for contact information and detailed description of the cost incurred and how they are COVID-19 related. The form also provides a list of eligible expenditure, and applicants are encouraged to review that list before applying.
Applicants will then list expenses on an application spreadsheet and attach invoices and proof of payment. Phelps County reimbursement requests will be directed to Kelly Sink at MRPC, where staff will review the application, make sure the request is eligible for funding and verify that the documentation meets the requirements for a Single Audit. A verified application will then be forwarded to the Phelps County Commission for review and approval. Those that are approved will be forwarded to the county treasurer for payment to the applicant. MRPC staff will maintain files for the county and track all requests and expenditures.
Combined, counties in the Meramec Region have been awarded a total of $23,278,689. The state of Missouri passed out a total of $520,925,478 to counties within the state. Funding distribution was based on population.
For more information, visit treasurer.mo.gov/COVID.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 34 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.
To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.
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