The Grundy County Commission and COVID-19 Relief Fund Task Force have distributed the $1.15 million in CARES Act funding the county received in early May.
Presiding Commissioner Phillip Ray reports the funds were distributed to entities impacted by COVID-19 based on a formula that utilized assessed valuation and accounted for the portion of each taxable entity within the total valuation. Entities that did not enroll in the Grundy County COVID-19 Relief Fund program had their funding placed in an “as needed” fund and would be used for those that could justify a need for more than their initial allocation.
Ray explains the goal of the task force and commission was to utilize CARES Act funding to make a positive impact in the county during “a negative time.” He says the task force was primarily used to identify needs instead of making judgment calls.
The county has chosen to use the remaining COVID-19 Relief Funds to assist with the ongoing payroll expenses of first responders. Ray calls it “imperative” to support these professionals right now.
He states it “has been an honor to help improve communities,” but he says “it is most unfortunate this program came about by…horrific circumstances.”
Entities used their COVID-19 Relief Fund allocations in various ways. Schools were able to create and enhance distance learning capabilities and assist with the cost of substitute teachers. Three school districts installed dishwashing units, and smaller districts and North Central Missouri College provided an on-campus nurse. NCMC also purchased laptops for staff to allow for remote instruction.
Sunnyview Nursing Home established a COVID-19 isolation wing and provided alternative methods of visitation for residents and their families. The nursing also had what Ray calls “significant” personal protective equipment expenses for staff.
The Senior Tax Board purchased and installed a walk-in cooler at the community food pantry. Food delivery equipment was purchased for the senior center.
The Jewett Norris Library used funds to continue providing services. The health department primarily used its funding allocation to assist with increasing payroll expenses during the pandemic. The Families and Friends of the Developmentally Disabled used its funding to provide the most “normal” routine it could for those it serves.
The City of Trenton used COVID-19 Relief Fund allocations for video conferencing equipment for public meetings and departmental training, personal safety, air purifiers, and equipment for remote working capabilities. Grundy County installed plexiglass barriers in the courthouse.
Grundy County Ambulance received new Philips cardiac monitors with wireless video and audio transmission capabilities, which allow for contactless medical control and transfer of care if isolation protocol is in place.
Numerous UV-C air purifiers were installed in public buildings throughout the county, which cleans the air of viruses, mold, and bacteria as air passes through the HVAC systems in the buildings. Personal protective equipment was also obtained.
Ray notes an audit expense has been incurred by Grundy County due to the receipt of the COVID-19 Relief Funds. The audit qualifies for and will be funded with funds since it was triggered by the program.
There has been no official announcement on an extension of the program or the establishment of any further funding opportunities of this kind.