At their Sept. 29 meeting, the Leon County Commissioners approved enhancements to the Leon CARES Expenditure Plan, which includes updates to the Leon CARES Individual Assistance and Small Business Assistance programs.
The assistance programs are set to provide COVID-19 testing, food insecurity programs, childcare assistance, homelessness support, emergency mental health services, small business assistance, human services grants and City of Tallahassee reimbursements.
The enhancements include increasing rewards as well as paying individual applicants directly. The Commissioners also expanded the Small Business Program to include nonprofits.
Approximately $51.2 million has been allocated toward the Leon County CARES Expenditure for Coronavirus Relief in alignment with CARES Act requirements of the national government. These funds are to cover the cost of medical expenses, public health expenses, payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care and human services all in respect to COVID-19.
Leon County worked to use the best practices on distributing and adhering to the guidelines of the United States Treasury and FDEM to meet local community needs. Officials engaged with the Florida Association of Counties and the National Association of Counties to determine what uses of the CARES Act funding were eligible based on the federal statute.
Based on the analysis, Leon CARES was able to establish three funding categories that made distribution more efficient to meet immediate and personal needs of its citizens, businesses, non-profits, local health care and local government entities. The categories are “Hardest Hit” Businesses, MWSBE Businesses, and “Rebounding” Businesses.
The Commissioners voted to increase the recommended funding for “Hardest Hit” and MWSBE businesses to $20,000 and for “Rebounding” businesses to $5,000.
Though local and state governments were awaiting Congress to make a motion to provide additional Coronavirus Relief Funds, the decision has been stalled. The CARES Act requires all funds to be spent by Dec. 30 or be reverted back to the United States Treasury.