The Centralia City Council authorized the city manager to sign to receive an additional $257,550 in CARES Act funding to the City of Centralia at their city council meeting on Tuesday evening.
“Late last week, staff was notified by the Department of Commerce that there was going to be in increased allocation for local governments for CARES Act funds,” said the city’s finance director Bret Brodersen.
The council voted to grant City Manager Rob Hill permission to sign a contract amendment to the original contract which allocated the city $515,100 in CARES Act funds in early June. The contract amendment will also extend the date in which the city is required to spend the funds and report back to the state from Oct. 31 to Nov. 30, 2020.
The city has allocated all of the original $515,100 in funding — $50,000 toward the Centralia CARES Scrip program and various amounts awarded to local organizations, including $50,000 to Gather Church for a rent assistance program, $74,910 to the Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County for a childcare program, $97,750 to the Centralia Downtown Association for small business and e-commerce grants and $42,000 to the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce for personal protective kits for businesses. The rest of the first round of funding was put toward city expenses.
The Centralia Downtown Association and the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce did not receive the full amount that was originally requested in August. The council voted to use the additional funds to fulfill the full requested amount of those organizations and allocate additional funds to the other organizations after identifying that they could put the funding to good use.
“Given the short time frame before we have to report back to the state, we reviewed the applications that we already received,” said Brodersen.
The additional amounts allocated include $42,000 to the Centralia Downtown Association, $42,000 to the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce, $22,000 to fund another month of childcare at the Lewis County Boys and Girls Club, $25,000 for the rental assistance program at Gather Church and $78,000 for additional city expenses — totaling $209,000.
After allocating the additional funds to the local organizations, there is still about $52,000 in CARES Act funding left over. Brodersen said that staff can come up with concepts for how to spend the remaining funds.
“Staff can come back with additional concepts for review and approval,” said Brodersen.
Councilor Rebecca Staebler suggested that staff explore the opportunity for finding a large space with video access to hold future city council meetings in-person as the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue.
“I was thinking maybe a gym or something where there’s plenty of space for the public to sit and we could sit up front with microphones — a large open space with plenty of ventilation,” said Councilor Max Vogt.