GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — Most of the money left will go towards small businesses in Greene County.
Months ago, Greene County was tasked with allocating over $34 Million in CARES Act relief funds for area businesses, all of which must be assigned and spent before the end of 2020.
The CARES Act Relief Fund Advisory Council was formed, headed up by Lyle Foster of Missouri State University. The Council is made up of 30 people from various backgrounds in Greene County. So far, they have been able to allocate a good chunk of that money.
“I believe the commission has actually made decisions on just over $25 million,” says Foster.
That leaves about $9 million more dollars to be distributed. According to the Greene County CARES Transparency Dashboard, there are five categories eligible for that money:
- Tax-Supported Entities
- Small Businesses
- Health Care
- Non-profits/Community Organizations
Each of those categories has a sub-committee that makes recommendations on which applicants qualify for how much money.
With much of the money already decided on, Foster says the only active sub-committee is the one for small businesses, which has seen a push since the deadline to apply closed about a week ago.
“We’ve got a couple of hundred more applications in probably the last two weeks. We probably got 600 applications from small businesses in total, we still have just under 300 applications to still go through,” Foster says. “We just ask for their patience because we are going through each and every application and giving each one our full attention. We wish we could just write checks, but we have to make sure that we follow very specific eligibility guidelines.”
Those guidelines were set by the legislation that came along with the funding. The process comes with pressure, and Foster says the decisions weigh on the task force quite heavily.
“It’s hard to tell an organization or to tell a small business that they don’t meet the criteria in one reason or another because everybody is impacted or hurting in some way, so you know, that’s difficult,” says Foster.
The council takes its recommendations to the Greene County Commission, who then signs off and approves the funding.