By Anna Jauhola
A committee will recommend to Kittson County commissioners that North-west Community Action (NWCA) administer Corona-virus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds.
The committee met a second time on Thursday, Aug. 13 and agreed having NWCA handle the process will be a good idea. Kittson County received $516,463 to recoup losses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plus $25,540 for small towns under 200 and $42,500 for townships.
The CARES committee made the recommendation at the Tuesday, Aug. 18 county board meeting. Administrative Coordinator Marilyn Gustafson visited with Roseau County initially because they also contracted with NWCA and found the whole process will go more smoothly.
“We’re in no position to (administer the funds),” Gustafson said.
Committee member Bob Jaszczak agreed, saying, “It’s a no-brainer.”
The committee decided to give each city and township – from their respective funds – a flat amount plus an amount per capita. Those entities then have the ability to use that money to cover any COVID-related costs incurred and dole out grants of their own to local businesses. However, if they don’t have any of those costs, officials can then either return the money to the county or the state to pool back into the grant funding.
Commission Chair Theresia Gillie brought to the meeting the documents NWCA prepared for Roseau County, which included requirements for businesses to apply for funding from the grant money. All committee members agreed the application is straightforward and it made sense to ask for tax ID numbers and other verifying information to show a loss for each business applying.
“Can we make this more all-inclusive to include nonprofits?” asked Jeanna Kujava, public county school nurse.
She mentioned Kittson County’s food pantries – Care and Share in Lake Bronson and Cornerstone in Hallock – as well as senior centers could benefit from these funds. While NWCA suggested reserving nonprofit requests for the possible second round of grants, the committee discussed designating funds to these types of programs because they were hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first round of applications will be specific to retail businesses that can provide the required information. Then, whatever money is left over after that process will be considered for nonprofit requests.
In the meantime, NWCA will be contacting all businesses in Kittson County through the mail with a letter, the criteria for the grant application and the application itself.
By Anna Jauhola