by Michael Boyink / [email protected]
To say the COVID-19 pandemic has come at a cost is an obvious understatement.
Some of those costs we don’t even know about yet. It could be decades before we fully understand what’s been happening for the last few months.
But some costs we do know. Extra personal protection devices. New communication tools. Health department supplies. Testing.
According to Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick’s website, Douglas County is now eligible for funds to help cover some of those COVID-19 related expenses.
To the tune of $1.5 million dollars
This is the first round of such funds, and the state made them available on Monday, May 5th.
It’s not a blank check.
“The funds are to cover costs related to COVIID-19,” said Douglas County Treasurer Karry Davis. “We are prohibited from using the funds for revenue replacement for reduced or decreased tax or other revenue collections.”
“The top priority has been to get CARES Act money distributed to Missouri’s local governments as efficiently as possible,” Treasurer Fitzpatrick said. “Now our counties must work with cities and other political subdivisions to ensure that this money reaches those on the front lines—our health departments, healthcare workers, and first responders—to ensure they have the necessary resources to adequately respond to COVID-19.”
Treasurer Fitzpatrick’s office published a document containing guidelines for the county to follow in using the funds.
Eligible expenses include (but aren’t limited to):
- Medical expenses such as establishing and operating public telemedicine capabilities for COVID-19-related treatment.
- Public Health expenses such as disinfection of public areas and other facilities, e.g., nursing homes, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID19 public health emergency.
- Expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures, such as food delivery to residents, including, for example, senior citizens and other vulnerable populations, to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions.
- Expenses associated with the provision of economic support in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency, such as the provision of grants to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures.
- Examples of items not able to be covered by these funds include:
- Expenses for the State share of Medicaid.
- Damages covered by insurance.
- Payroll or benefits expenses for employees whose work duties are not substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
For Douglas County, figuring out how to best use the funds will take a little time.
“The County is working with the City, Schools and Health Department to see what their needs are,” said Karry Davis. “They will be submitting reimbursement requests to cover costs related to COVID-19.”
Read more about the relief funds at treasurer.mo.gov.