County receives large grant to help local businesses

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met on Monday, June 8. All were in attendance at the courthouse.

The meeting opened with the usual updates on COVID-19.

Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene stated that there are no new cases which has been the situation for several weeks now. She suggested that for now, the weekly COVID-19 updates be suspended as Marion County seems to have accomplished the goal of flattening the curve and stopping the spread of the virus.

Serene asked that everyone remember to be safe and follow the same suggestions she has been giving along the way such as proper handwashing and social distancing.

“Please stay home if you are not feeling well,” said Serene.

Randy Frank said they will continue to run their additional emergency management meetings for awhile although things are slowing down. For the moment, they are continuing to meet on Saturday mornings still. Frank and his staff continue to work with funding and on planning for any emergencies.

Marion County recently received the Community Development Block Grant-CV of $167,000 through the Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Supplement program, administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce Community Development Division.

The Community Development Block Grant program has been successful in meeting community needs for more than 30 years. This round includes approximately $9 million in funding made possible through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The commissioners discussed the criteria they would like to set for the disbursement of the grant to businesses.

“It’s my personal opinion is if they didn’t get the PPP or the EIDL loan, they should be in the top. If they got one of the other, they should be in the second tier and if they got both, they should be in the third tier. That way the money gets to the people who have gotten nothing first,” said Chairman Jonah Gehring.

The commissioners brainstormed ways to get the information out to businesses about the grant including websites, social media, word of mouth and more. They will continue to work on the criteria for how to qualify for the funds so that they can notify the public of what all is available.

County Clerk Tina Spencer stated that $117,000 of the grant goes to local businesses but the rest of it has to go to food such as food banks or other food-related projects.

In other business, the board:

  •  heard the 2021 budget presentation from the 8th Judicial District
  •  heard the Health Department budget presentation
  •  heard transport fuel bids from County Engineer Brice Goebel