The Centralia City Council awarded COVID-19 relief CARES Act funding to three applicants — the Centralia Downtown Association, Gather Church and the Boys & Girls Club of Lewis County.
The Boys & Girls Club of Lewis County is to receive $74,910 for a child care program in Centralia. Gather Church is to receive $50,000 for a utility and rent assistance program. The Centralia Downtown Association is to receive $55,750 for market expansion e-commerce grants — totaling $180,660 of the $515,100 of the total CARES Act funding.
At the Centralia City Council meeting on June 9, the council approved the signing of an interagency agreement with the Washington State Department of Commerce to receive the $515,100 in CARES Act funding.
Ideas for how to spend the funds were discussed generally at that meeting and the council asked city staff to put together a plan for how to spend the funds. The city decided on the creation of a scrip program costing $50,000 and the Centralia Cares Response Proposal Program.
The applications for the “Centralia Cares Response Proposal Program” were reviewed by the council in a workshop before the Tuesday night meeting where the council decided if the proposals were the best use of CARES Act funds.
The proposals from non-profit organizations outlined how the organization planned to use the money in direct response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The minimum amount of funds the organizations could apply for was $50,000.
Applications from the Boys & Girls Club of Lewis County, Gather Church and the Centralia Downtown Association’s proposals were all approved by the Centralia finance department for meeting the requirements of being in response to COVID-19.
“I would like staff to maybe schedule for these organizations to present to us, maybe in September, if they do need additional funds for us to make sure that we stay engaged with them if there are greater needs. Then maybe reach out to other organizations that would want to apply,” said Centralia Mayor Pro-tem Peter Abbarno.
Councilor Rebecca Staebler suggested using some of the remaining CARES Act funds for the Economic Development Council to help Centralia businesses.
City Manager Rob Hill said that it will be taken under consideration and options for how to utilize the remaining funding — $284,440— would be brought back to the council at their next meeting at 7 p.m. on August 11.