County has spent over half of CARES Act funds

LIHU‘E — The County of Kaua‘i reported it has spent or earmarked about 65%, or $18,530,182, of its Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds as Aug. 30.

The majority of the $28,715,551 in federal funds have gone to community services, expending about $8,755,248 and earmarking another $3,675,591. Some that include $2,028,162.73 that been spent by nonprofits in the way of grants.

According to the county’s Coroanvirus Relief Fund expense report, the county has to award $14,357,775.50, and at the end of August had disbursed $13,062,617.66. The county has about $1,295,157.84 in award balance after those disbursements.

Project Manager and Compliance Officer Nicholas Courson said the county is on track to spend the funds by the Dec. 30 deadline.

Courson explained that the county has eliminated a project for tiny homes for houseless sheltering and the “digital equity efforts” project that would have been used to increase communication connectivity. Both funds were shifted into a redistribution budget.

“As the U.S. Treasury continued to release updated guidance and frequently-asked-question documents, those projects were ultimately deemed unfeasible in the time frame allowed, given the restrictions on the CARES Act funds,” Courson said.

Funds for county-wide, hand-hygiene stations were also moved to the contingency fund since departments had already bought or purchased supplies. The county also moved $200,000 from the redistributed funds into the Rise to Work program being conducted by the Office of Economic Development. Other than that, it is to be determined how to redistribute the balance of the funds.

The county has an overall remaining budget balance of $10,185,369 as of Aug. 30 from the $28 million, according to a Coronavirus Relief Funds Report to the state sent Sept. 14.

The county, and grantees, must spend the remaining 35% by the end of 2020.

In July, the county rolled out $9,195,412 to 44 project proposals under food support services; nonprofit economic loss support; mental health and domestic violence prevention; agricultural assistance; transforming tourism and economic diversification recovery support; and Rise to Work.

Projects in the agricultural assistance category have spent the most, $607,493.86. These proposals include projects from ‘Aina Ho‘okupu ‘O Kilauea for local farming jobs, the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau for Lydgate Farms emergency hires, the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board for several projects including the Makaweli Ranch pasture expansion, North Shore Economic Vitality Partnership for the Safe and Stable Kaua‘i Farms initiative to address food safety and infrastructure, and the Waipa Foundation to transform nine acres of overgrown land.

Equipment, from all grantees, makes up the majority of what’s been spent, at $598,845.97, followed by operations, which come in at $401,648.59.

In July, nonprofits spent $721,692.75, and in August, $1,306,469.98, for a $2.028 million expenditure figure.

The county split the funds into five categories: community services, public safety, economic resiliency, administrative costs and equipment and construction.

After community services, economic resiliency has spent the most, about $3.914 million, and has another $958,067 in encumbrances.

The county allocated $1,615,550 toward administrative costs, and has spent $100,318. About $32,965 has been specifically noted as “payroll summary” for the Emergency Operations Center.

The county has a $2 million budget for equipment and construction that has not been expended yet. The public-safety category was budgeted $4,679,401. According to Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck at a Sept. 24 Police Commission meeting, some of these funds are going toward overtime to assist with quarantine monitoring at the airport.

Raybuck said his staff is working on an overtime-projection model to better understand how much will be spent on these COVID-related tasks.

The state received $862,823,979 in this package, from which $28 million was given to the county. In mid-September, the state released data that showed only about $71 million had be spent, or about 8% of the federal funding, according to figures by the state and counties.

On Wednesday, Gov. David Ige announced that 98% of that money has been set aside to assist with COVID-19 response and recovery efforts to protect public health, revive the economy and strengthen the community. Unspent funds will be placed in the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund and used to help repay a $1 billion loan that was secured to pay unemployment benefits to residents.

Each grantee must submit a report to the county detailing its expenses, which then, in turn, is used by the county to submit a monthly report to the state. The county is using its Opengov platform to track the grantee expenditures, which can be found at kauaiforward.com/reporting.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

1 Comments
  1. Anon Ymouse October 3, 2020 10:32 am Reply

    Uh, think there still are some folk out there in need of rent and mortgage assistance….


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