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County reaps others’ unspent CARES cash

LISBON ­­– More federal COVID-19 aid is coming to cities, village and townships, thanks to unspent money returned by other recipient communities.

A total of $587,537 in unspent CARES Act money was returned by the Nov. 20 deadline, with $146,844 going to county commissioners. The rest will be redistributed based on population to 11 of the 18 townships and nine of the 13 cities and villages.

The following is a list of those communities receiving additional CARES funding, which stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed by Congress in April to provide financial assistance to federal, state and local governments, business and individuals.

Columbiana, $33,050

East Liverpool, $62,487

Salem, $68,487

Leetonia, $10,796

Lisbon, $15,558

New Waterford, $6,954

Salineville, $7,178

Washingtonville, $2,481

Wellsville, $19,483

Center Township, $19,571

Elkrun Township, $26,655

Hanover Township, $18,186

Liverpool Township, $22,253

Madison Township, $17,797

Middleton Township, $18,711

Perry Township, $25,270

St. Clair Township, $44,117

Washington Township, $5,298

Wayne Township, $4,543

Yellow Creek Township, $11,833

The initial round of CARES funding received for local governments totaled about $12 million, with $5.9 million going to commissioners and the rest to cities, villages and townships. The money had to approved for a specific use by Nov. 20 or returned to the county auditor’s for redistribution. All earmarked CARES money has to be spent by Dec. 31.

Communities prohibited from receiving any of the returned CARES money were those that either chose never to take any in the first place or failed to spend their entire allocation by Nov. 20.

The following communities that never requested any CARES funding were Franklin and Salem townships and Hanoverton, Rogers and Summitville. Butler, Fairfield, Knox, Unity and West townships, and East Palestine failed to spend its entire initial allocation, so they are not eligible to receive any of the returned funds.

County commissioners have said they intend to spend any returned money it receives to fund additional applications under the county small business grant program begun using the county’s CARES allocation. A combined $354,973 in small business grants were approved by commissioners before Nov. 20, about $200,000 less than was originally set aside. About $680,000 in applications were received.

Commissioners made a last-minute decision to use all of its remaining CARES money on a $1.46 million plan to bring reliable wireless broadband service to the county. To do this, commissioners had to take the remaining money promised for small businesses grants that had already been recommended for approval.

Commissioner Mike Halleck said the plan is to use any returned CARES money it receives to fund as many of those small business grants as possible.

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