The Centralia City Council held a workshop on Tuesday evening to discuss how the city plans to utilize the $515,100 of federal COVID-19 relief funding. The council discussed the details of an application process for non-profit organizations to receive a portion of the funds and the creation of a scrips program.
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 casually discussed at the meeting and the council asked city staff to put together a plan for how to spend the funds. That plan was discussed at the workshop.
The applications for the “Centralia Cares Response Proposal Program” from non-profit organizations should propose how they plan to use the money in direct response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The minimum amount of funds the organizations can apply for is $50,000.
An application is in the process of being developed by city staff and will be available on the City of Centralia’s website by July 6. The deadline for an organization to submit a proposal will be July 20, the council will review the proposals on July 28 and the chosen organizations will need to spend the funds and seek reimbursement from the city by Oct. 15.
“We will have the application on our website no later than July 6. The draft application is going through some final review processes with staff. When it is published we will have a notice put out on the city Facebook page saying the application is available on the city website,” said Bret Brodersen, Centralia’s financial director.
Brodersen said that the city will hold a virtual question and answer session for those interested in applying for CARES Act funding.
The details of the scrip program were not finalized at the workshop — city staff will prepare a resolution for consideration and the city council will vote on it at their next council meeting on July 14 at 7 p.m.
City staff researched the options for a scrip program and Brodersen presented the general requirements to the council for discussion at the workshop. The city is looking to allocate $50,000 of the CARES Act funds toward the scrip program.
The scrips would only be available to Centralia residents who complete the application and meet either the income thresholds or are enrolled in the senior discount program at the City of Centralia utilities. An eligible household will receive a set amount based upon the household size with a maximum award of $250 to be spent at participating Centralia businesses.
More details will be presented at the upcoming Centralia city council meeting.
Businesses that would like to be involved in the scrip program would need to apply, must have a Centralia Business License, and must agree to keep the scrips that they collect until the end of the program then return them to the city for reimbursement.
Scrips would have no cash value and must be spent by Sept. 30 but cannot be used to purchase tobacco products, marijuana, alcohol, ammunition or firearms.