LACEY –– The Lacey City Council approved the use of the remaining $408,100 in CARES Act funding to be divided equally between Economic Recovery and Social Services on Thursday night.
The CARES Act fund is to be used for three elements of economic recovery: acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE), reopening grants for businesses, and financial assistance to childcare providers to enable parents with children to return to work.
The amount allocated for reopening businesses in total was $75,000 making each business eligible for an amount up to $1500.
“$1,500 is not an impactful number,” said Lenny Greenstein, city council member. “I do not know if it makes any sense truthfully to put any money there. I would suggest either one or two things.”
Greenstein suggested the city council either reimbursed itself the $100,000 they spent without any expectation of reimbursement, or not fund business reopenings at all and move the $75,000 to childcare facilities.
“It increases our coverage of 57 percent a lot closer to 100 percent,” he said.
Ultimately, other city council members agreed to this and voted to divert the $75,000 towards providing financial assistance to childcare providers. As part of the Thurston Strong partnership between The City of Lacey, Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC), Thurston County, and the cities of Olympia and Tumwater, more than $100,000 of PPE was ordered and distributed to local businesses to ensure a safe start and that the businesses had an adequate initial supply of PPE, while each business makes arrangements to source their PPE through vendors.
The council decided to allocate and sign an agreement that allocates $10,000 from the $20,000 fund with The Thurston Economic Development Council. The agreement allows for the opportunity to divert the remaining $10,000 if needed. In all, the funds for economic recovery would go towards EDC for additional PPE equipment worth $10,000, with $184,000 towards providing financial assistance to childcare facilities. The remaining $10,000 would be allocated later to childcare facilities or EDC depending on the need for additional help.
The grant set aside for social services would be allocated to The United Way of Thurston County, which would then fund direct service providers. The United Way of Thurston County will direct the funds to the most critical needs within the City of Lacey among Senior Support Services, Meals on Wheels, Thurston County Food Bank (Lacey Satellite Distribution), and Homeless Backup. A motion was approved to allocate funds to The United Way of Thurston County with having no more than 10 percent of administration fees.