The City of Thomson will receive a total of $341,000 in federal funding through the state’s dispersement of CARES Act funds.
“This is all part of the federal COVID relief funding. The money was originally pushed down to the state and then the municipal association and the county association lobbied to get the governor to go ahead and allocate the money out to the local governments,” said Mike Stewart, interim city administrator.
The funding has come in two phases, and just last week Thomson learned it was approved for the second phase of funding.
Stewart said the city is now in Phase I funding, but with the approval of Phase II funding the total allocated to the City of Thomson will be $341,000.
“We had to submit documentation to justify that,” he said.
“They gave us an initial check for 30 percent, for $101,000. Then we had to submit documentation for that in order to keep it and then we had to submit documentation to get the remaining $240,000,” Stewart said. “And all of this was changing every day in terms of what you needed to do and how it needed to work.”
The guidelines said all public safety expenditures from March 1 to Sept 1 were eligible for CARES Act funding. In the case of Thomson, that is the police department.
“We went back and turned in all salaries, all benefits, everything up to $341,000 since March 1,” he said.
Late last week the city heard the Phase II request was approved.
What does that mean to the City of Thomson?
“It means $341,000 of revenue to patch gaps that we will probably have throughout the end of the year,” Stewart said.
Right now revenue collection has been going good, but Stewart said sales tax collection is reduced due to online shopping.
The city’s other two revenue items, water and gas, are still holding their own according to Stewart.
He said the city also had a substantial overtime expense during the earlier days of COVID-19. Having CARES Act funds to pay the law enforcement expenses helps the city save money to be able to better absorb those other added expenses.
Does it help the chief add the positions he has been seeking.
Stewart said that increasing those positions was not an allowable cost but the city will be looking at that during the normal budgetting process.
Stewart said there were a lot of cities that did not meet the deadlines to apply and said he is not sure how the state will disperse those funds. In last Thursday’s meeting Mayor Kenneth Usry said there may be a chance for Thomson to apply for additional funds.
“There may be some extra money. We’re hoping they will put it back out and be on a competitive bases to pick up what was not originally requested,” said Usry. “Every city and every county was allocated so much money, but a lot of folks did not apply for it. But, our folks jumped on it and did a good job.”
McDuffie County was also notified of their approval to receive CARES Act funs as well, according to Stewart.