Texas County Presiding Commissioner Scott Long, left, addresses attendees of a meeting Thursday at the Texas County Justice Center regarding application and distribution of CARES Act funds received from the federal government.

Texas County commissioners hosted a meeting last Thursday at the Justice Center in Houston concerning distribution of about $2.9 million that the county received in May as part of the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Attendees included representatives of various organizations involved in emergency response, law enforcement and local government who were in search of information about how to obtain a share of the money and what qualifies under CARES Act guidelines.

Speakers included Presiding Commissioner Scott Long, Texas County Health Department director Jackie Smith and acting Texas County emergency management director Bill Karatzas. Cody Dalton, executive director of the South Central Ozark Council of Governments (SCOCOG), also attended to help Long answer questions.

One of the primary qualification guidelines that was addressed at the meeting more than once is that CARES Act funds are designed to cover expenses incurred or purchases made solely due to COVID-19 response. Another important aspect pointed out by Dalton is that qualifying items must be purchased first, and then the purchaser is reimbursed.

“And the funding cannot be used to replace lost revenue,” Dalton said, “or go toward things that were already budgeted.”

Long distributed copies of the CARES Act funding application form and list of guidelines, which are available to anyone. The period covered by the CARES Act funds is from March 1 through Dec. 30, 2020.

“We don’t want to sit on that money any longer than we have to,” Long said, “and we know a lot of you have good ideas for how to put it to good use.”

Last week, Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick held a conference call with more than 170 Missouri county government leaders and the U.S. Treasury Department to provide guidance and best practices to local governments to effectively use CARES Act funding.

PDF: Application for funding

“There’s a lot of money out there,” Long said, “and we want to use it wisely and help people get what they need.”

Applications and guidelines are available from the Texas County commissioners, whose office is in the county administrative building on Grand Avenue in downtown Houston.

Dalton said he is available to answer people’s questions. His email address is cdalton@scocog.org and SCOCOG’s phone number is 417-256-4226.

Dalton’s office is administering Howell County’s funds. Phelps and Dent County are using their regional planning organization.

The Texas County Commission’s phone number is 417-967-3222.

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