The Phelps County Commission has now opened its Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Act funding to businesses within the county.

Phelps County has received $5.2 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic (CARES) Act for reimbursable COVID-19 expenses that they have incurred, beginning March 1, 2020. The county can reimburse costs up to Dec. 15 or until funds run out, whichever comes first. 

Any funds not spent by Dec. 30, 2020, must be returned to the U.S. Treasury, according to the Meramec Regional Planning Commission, whose handling the grant administration for Phelps County. 

In early October, the county kicked off its public entities grant reimbursement program for COVID-19 related expenses, and the county is now offering a business grant program for necessary expenditures for personal protective equipment — such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, partitions —  incurred due to public health safety in respect to COVID-19. Revenue replacement is not an eligible expense, according to MRPC.

Phelps County Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp stated in an email that the commission recognized that the county’s health was a first priority, but knows that small businesses are struggling.

Verkamp said: “The Commissions first priority was to fund efforts in our health department, the schools and our hospital that might keep the number of infections as low as possible and to be prepared in the event that numbers might rise drastically. 

“Secondly, the Commission recognized the burden placed on our many wonderful small businesses as they try to operate in this environment and a decision was made to set aside a portion of the funding to reimburse them for expenditures made for personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies not reimbursed by other programs. 

“The Commission encourages businesses to apply for this assistance at the MRPC website and to continue using best practices to minimize exposures for their customers and employees.”

A separate application has been created for business requests, and businesses must provide documentation to support their requests. Businesses will have to provide a copy of valid business license, completed w-9 and other documentation depending on the request. 

Businesses seeking funding must have been in business prior to Feb. 29, 2020. Businesses can request a maximum of $5,000 per request. Non-profits are eligible for funding as well. Applications for reimbursement are due to MRPC no later than Dec. 15, 2020. Phelps County set aside $150,000 for businesses.

MRPC has created a webpage on its website where Phelps County application information for both businesses and public entities can be found, at https://www.meramecregion.org/cares-act-funding-opportunity-for-meramec-counties/.

MRPC has been assisting Phelps County and the other seven counties in the Meramec Region review the act, develop an application and administrative process that would meet audit requirements. MRPC staff will be handling the grant administration for Phelps County.

           
The application asks for contact information and detailed description of the cost incurred and how they are COVID-19 related.

Phelps County reimbursement requests will be directed to Kelly Sink at MRPC, where staff will review the application, make sure the request is eligible for funding and verify that the documentation meets the requirements for a single audit. 

According to MRPC, a verified application will then be forwarded to the Phelps County Commission for review and approval. Those that are approved will be forwarded to the county treasurer for payment to the applicant. MRPC staff will maintain files for the county and track all requests and expenditures. 

Residents with questions about the Phelps County grant can contact Kelly Sink at MRPC at 573-265-2993 or by email at Kellysb@meramecregion.org.

Combined, counties in the Meramec Region have been awarded roughly $23.3 million. The state of Missouri passed out a total of $520.9 million to counties within the state. Funding distribution was based on population. The state of Missouri is also offering reimbursement grants with its CARES Act funds.
For more information, visit treasurer.mo.gov/COVID.