OSWEGO — Labette County commissioners will discuss COVID-19 relief payments again Monday.
Commissioners have met nearly every week with Jim Zaleski, Parsons economic development director, and Laura Moore, Parsons community development director, to discuss the state’s Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas program. Zaleski and Moore are helping manage the county’s program to distribute the money. They will meet with commissioners at 9:45 a.m. Monday. Commissioners will meet with Great Plains representatives at 9:15 a.m. Monday. The meeting is in the lower level of the courthouse in Oswego.
The county received $3,983,558.77 from the state’s SPARK program, which is distributing federal pandemic relief money. The money can be used to reimburse for COVID-19-related expenses or for projects tied to the pandemic. Local businesses or organizations have until the end of the year to spend the money received or to substantially complete funded projects, but they need to request the money now, or very soon. Applications for this funding are available through the city of Parsons website, parsonsks.com, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cities, the county, schools, the college, the hospital and Labette Center for Mental Health Services received most of the funds either for reimbursements for spending on pandemic-related goods or services or for other projects tied to the pandemic. About $900,000 is divided among four programs, food service, business, senior care/child care and connectivity. Earlier this month, only about $100,000 was spoken for from these four programs, but last week Zaleski said there was only $484,530 to spend as more businesses and organizations applied for funding to reimburse COVID-19 expenses or for projects tied to the pandemic. The senior care/child care program is down to $17,000 available, he said.
Last week, commissioners discussed shifting more money into the senior/child care program but decided to wait. They also agreed to allow landlords to seek reimbursement for insurance and taxes paid on units that may have tenants impacted by COVID-19 that they cannot evict for non-payment because of current guidelines.