Joplin City Leaders review results of COVID-19 impact study

Next step in CARES Act funds application will be designating disbursement programs

JOPLIN, Mo. – In June, the consulting company Guidehouse put three surveys online for the City of Joplin to determine the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the local area.

“It’s a heartbreaking report in one way to see the need and to see the impact that this virus has had on the community,” says Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards.

The surveys were open to residents, business owners and non-profits in Joplin, Carthage, Webb City and Carl Junction. It was open for a week at the beginning of June, and saw 763 responses. 458 of them were from residents, 38 of them were from businesses, and 45 of them were from non-profits. Of those residents, 64 percent said they had lost their jobs or saw a reduction in hours.

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As far as businesses and non-profits go, they’ve been hit the hardest when it comes to revenue loss.

“There weren’t really any surprises. The issues that business and non-profits faced, I thought they would have been those same issues,” says Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanley.

Edwards says the survey cost less than 50-thousand to get done. But, why spend the money when you already have a general idea of what the results will be? Edwards explains that it was the first step the city had to go through to apply for federal CARES Act funds through Jasper and Newton Counties. Federal pandemic relief funds were sent to the two counties by the state of Missouri, and now the counties have to decide what funds should be sent to municipalities.

Now that the city has to results from the survey, they will be taken to the county, as well as a plan for how they would disperse the funds, so the county can decide how much to give to Joplin.

“As it is now, there’s a requirement that these funds be spent, not even distributed, but spent before the end of December. And so to make use of them, we’re gonna have to move fast,” says Edwards.

Guidehouse will be back in Joplin next week to present programs that the city could use to disperse funds to people in Joplin. The full results of the survey will be posted online at some point on Tuesday morning (07/14).