County And CARES Act Bring Relief To Business

By: 
Joyce Coates
County Reporter
Sole proprietors, owners of small businesses, and representatives of non-profits operating within the county have until Monday, July 27, 2020 at 4:30 PM to apply for funds under Round 2 of the CARES Act enacted on March 27, 2020.
Based on population, Benton County received $2,281,052. The funds are for distribution to businesses in the county whose applications are approved for reimbursement for supplies and equipment purchased in response to the public health emergency and for revenue lost, during the period March 1, 2020 through May 3, 2020. 
To be considered, signed and notarized applications must be submitted to the County Clerk by the deadline, which again, is 4:30 PM, Monday, July 27. All applications submitted on time will be considered (i.e., first-come/first-served does not apply). However, full reimbursement cannot be guaranteed because amounts available for distribution will depend on the number of applicants who meet requirements for funds.  
The 10-page form, Request for Distribution of County CARES Act Funds, plus the 4-page Instructions form is available at the County building at 316 Van Buren Street in Warsaw; or available online for download at bentoncomo.com/forms.html. 
For prospective applicants who prefer to know in advance what factors may disqualify them, note the following questions on the application which any, if answered “Yes,” means the application will be denied:
•2B: Is the Applicant or any owner of the Applicant presently suspended, debarred, proposed for  debarment, declared ineligible, voluntarily excluded from participation in this transaction by any Federal department or agency, or presently involved in any bankruptcy?
•2C: Has the Applicant, any owner, or any business owned or controlled by any of them, obtained a direct or guaranteed loan from a federal or state agency that is currently delinquent or has defaulted in the last 7 years?
•2D: Is the Applicant, or any individual owning 20% or more of the equity subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges (other than traffic citations) are brought in any jurisdiction, presently incarcerated, or on probation or parole?
•2E: Within the last 5 years, for any felony, has the Applicant or any owner: (1) been convicted; (2) pleaded guilty; (3) pleaded nolo contendere; (4) been placed on pretrial diversion; or (5) been placed on any form of parole or probation (including probation before judgment)?
Likewise, if the answer is “No” to any of the following questions in Item 3.E, the application will be denied:
•E(i): Will the funds be used only to cover costs that are necessary expenditures as defined by the CARES Act and relate to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
•E(ii): Will the funds be used only to cover costs that were not accounted for in the Applicant’s budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020, or as permitted by the CARES Act and Treasury guidance?
•E(iii): Will the funds be used only to cover costs that were incurred by the Applicant during the period that begins March 1, 2020 and ends May 3, 2020?
•E(iv): Will the funs be used exclusively within the County?
Applications must include supporting documents-–paid bills, invoices, etc., to prove expenditures, and either Missouri Revenue Department Form 53-1or a signed and notarized letter from a certified public accountant, to prove revenue loss. 
Additionally, Applicants are asked to submit a copy of their most-recently approved budgets as of March 27, 2020; and to answer affirmatively to 12 representations and certifications before signing the application in the presence of a notary.
County commissioners, who with the county’s legal counsel are responsible to review applications and determine the amounts to be distributed, held three first town hall meeting to explain Round 2. As of Friday, June 26, seven (7) applications have been submitted.
Eligibility requirements are rather strict, especially because the State Auditor will set a date to perform a single audit to ensure integrity of the program. The county would have to reimburse the State for any erroneous disbursements, and in turn, any business that received funds erroneously would have to reimburse Benton County. 
Whether there is a Round 3, for additional disbursements to reimburse expenditures during the period May 3 - December 30, depends on progress to contain COVID-19 and on funds available after Rounds 2 ends. In any case, unused funds must be returned to the State.
Commissioners recommend getting an early start on the Round 2 application process so there is time before the July 27 deadline to gather documentation, and to get answers to any questions that may arise. Contact phone number is: (660) 438-7406. Email addresses are: steve.daleske@bentoncomo.com (Presiding Commissioner); David.malecki@bentoncomo.com (South Commissioner); and glen.nelson@bentoncomo.com (North Commissioner).
 

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