LIHU‘E — Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds are set to expire at the end of this month, and the county’s $28 million slice has a remaining balance of $2,190,512, or about 7.6%, to be spent in December.
In the month of November, the county spent $3,412,702.32, much of it payments relating to payroll and overtime, funding of grant projects and personal protective equipment, according to the county’s monthly report.
The county received $28,715,55 in CARES Act funds, a sub-recipient of the state’s $1.25 billion in federal aid. These funds are set to expire at the end of the year, and the county’s expected to expend all the funds.
“The County of Kaua‘i has been determined from the start to spend every dollar given to us through the CARES Act and ensure that funding goes directly into our economy and into our community,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said in a press release earlier this month.
And Project Management and Compliance Officer Nicholas Courson reiterated that Wednesday, saying that there would not be any unused funds returning to the state.
The county split up its CARES Act money into 21 different subsections, offering nonprofits six different areas ranging from food support to agriculture assistance to economic diversification to transforming tourism for community-led projects or programming.
According to the latest report, those in the grant sectors were allocated $13,044,073. In November, $2,360,070.42 was spent, $480,592.56 of which went toward operations. In total, $8,470,835.99 has been spent out of the $13 million.
Oversight among the grant projects varied, Courson said.
“For example, the larger ones handled by (the Office of Economic Development) were monitored weekly and more often as time grew short, including onsite visits for some,” Courson said in an email. “This depended on what was involved in each grant. Grant managers assessed what needed to be done and if they needed to monitor through onsite review or if it could be done in a traditional manner via emails, phone calls and the online reporting system.”
Some of the projects included a skatepark in Kapa‘a, employment opportunities, water system improvements and food pantry support.
All the projects, Courson said, will be completed by the Dec. 30 deadline.
The county allocated $6,473,637 from the CARES funds toward public safety.
As of November 30, the total KPD overtime expenditures related to CARES COVID operations was $1,140,075, according to a KPD spokesperson.
According to the county’s expense report to the state, the county has dolled out about $696,339.47 in overtime pay. In total, $1,490,159.76 had been spent since March 1 in overtime.
Each month from July to October, some funds went toward meals at the Emergency Operations Center, totaling $22,640.68. In four months, that’s an average of about $5,660 per month spent.
It was previously reported that between March 13 and April 13, there were 60 instances where breakfast and lunch have been bought and expensed, totaling $16,378.79, for staffers at the EOC. The majority of these meals were at local establishments.
Last month, county officials offered that it’ll cost about $300,000 a month to continue emergency operations, support and other COVID-19-related procedures for quarantine-related types of work, call-center support and other operations at the start of the year.
Courson said the county has asked for $2 million in funding from the county’s general fund for emergency and enforcement services.
A second wave of grants announced this month awarded 180 small businesses $7,500 each using $1.35 million of the funds. This is a continuation of the Small Business Boost Grant that opened back in August.
The original program quickly exceeded its $5 million funding to 650 businesses this summer with the website crashing from high traffic. The 180 businesses now getting funds were on the waitlist from the initial allotment.
The funds for this program came from internal county projects that were canceled after being deemed “unfeasible,” Courson said. Projects, like a tiny-home construction for sheltering the houseless and digital equity efforts, were not able to be completed in the timeframe allowed, Courson said, citing U.S. Treasury guidance. Other efforts, like county-wide hand hygiene stations, were funded through other means.
This program was supported by Kaua‘i Government Employees FCU, Gather FCU, HawaiiUSA FCU and Kaua‘i Teachers FCU, according to the county.