Crawford County Commission approves tentative plan to distribute 7 million in pandemic relief funding

Those seeking funding will have around 10 days to apply after application becomes available

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. – At the end of June, officials in Crawford County learned there would be 7.8 million dollars in federal CARES Act funding funneled to the county from the state.

Since then, the county commission has been working with the Crawford County Recovery Taskforce, a group made up of local business owners and residents, to find out how they should spend it.

“Cause 7.8 million is a lot of money, but it’s also gonna go very fast,” says Crawford County Commissioner Jeremy Johnson.

“We know that small businesses have been heavily impacted,” says Mike Bodensteiner, a member of Greenbush and the facilitator of the grant. “We know schools, especially with their reopening, are faced with a lot of challenges.”

The county commission on Friday (July 24th) approved a tentative budget that divides the total into separate categories. With 250 thousand being divided between each of the cities in the county, more than a million being split between each of the school districts, 1.4 million going to small businesses and non-profits, and funds going to health care, Pitt State, and county projects.

Crawford County Cares Funds Allocations

But, it’s possible those numbers could change as the commission sees what the needs actually are.

“It’s difficult because a lot of it is anticipatory. Like, we’ve seen preliminary budgets from the schools on their reopening plans and mitigation techniques, but as commissioner Blair brought up, it’s possible that they were being conservative and there are other things that they could potentially be doing,” says Johnson. “Knowing that we were gonna be guessing at things that we don’t one hundred percent know, we want to allow this to have flexibility.”

Johnson explains that part of the reason they are having to guess is that the entire process has had to be fast-tracked. The county has to send a plan to the state by August 15th on where the money is going, and then the money has to either be spent or dispersed by September 15th. Whatever is left on September 15th has to be sent back to the state. That also means that once the application drops on Monday (July 27th) anyone seeking funds will only have about a week and a half to get their application to the county.

“We had talked a little bit that we might be able to extend out the business grant timeline a little bit longer, but it’s probably not gonna be much,” says Johnson. “We want to make sure that we’re not sending any of this money back. 7.8 million, while it sounds like a lot, doesn’t come close to meeting all of the needs within the community. And so we need to make sure, I mean, partly that we are spending it, but also that we’re targeting it well.”

The application will be posted on the Crawford County website on Monday morning.