Joplin City officials hear update on COVID costs, funding

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin City Council met tonight, on the agenda, a discussion of COVID costs in the city.

The cost of COVID, we’ve seen it in terms of businesses closing and unemployment claims rising, but there’s also costs for cities, like Joplin, to provide COVID related services to its citizens. Those costs are being covered through CARES funding. Health Department Director Ryan Talken says “The funding has been used for mostly for funding the contact tracing and case investigations within the Joplin Health Department.”

The City of Joplin itself has had to use CARES funding as well for its employees. Finance Director Leslie Haase says “The federal law granted 80 hours of COVID time and city employees have had to use that and that’s an eligible expense and so that’s been a portion of it too, as well as regular city employees that have redirected our normal time towards COVID so that’s been the majority of our costs.”

Finance Director Leslie Haase breaks down where things stand so far. “We’ve submitted almost $1,080,000 and we expect to get, receive all of it back except about $8,000, so, it’s just a timing stand point of receiving the reimbursements.”

As for that timing, Haase says through December 28th, the city has received just under half a million dollars in reimbursements, with more to come. But there’s still money that’s needed. “Newton County has used all their CARES dollars, Jasper County still has some remaining CARES dollars, so, we’re still doing contact tracing, case investigation, we may have costs related to vaccinations, we still have quarantine situations that we’re responsible for and so, we’ll still be able to submit those costs to Jasper County.”

Haase says although the President extended the CARES deadlines through December 31st of this year, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, at this time, has only extended the deadline through June.