Nevada County directs $1.75 million to Relief Fund
Special to the Sierra Sun
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors has detailed its initial plans for spending more than $10 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund money.
The plan calls for the county to dedicate $7 million for the COVID-19 response and $3 million on economic and community resilience.
Of the $7 million, more than $3 million of that will be spent on public health expenses, including staffing costs, support for contact tracing, personal protective equipment and shared costs for running the county’s testing facility.
The remainder of that funding will go toward staffing costs for emergency operations and personnel responding to the pandemic; reimbursing COVID-19-related costs; and housing homeless populations.
Of the $3 million in economic and community support, up to $1 million will go toward expanding broadband access, with up to $500,000 going toward funding the three western county police agencies to allow them to assist with state health order compliance.
Funding for increased broadband access will need to facilitate distance learning, increase tele-work capabilities or enhance emergency response in order to meet eligibility requirements.
The remainder of the county’s funding for economic and community resilience will go toward the Nevada County Relief Fund, with $1.5 million in macro-grants allocated to “anchor institutions/organizations,” and $250,000 in micro grants allocated for small businesses.
The Relief Fund will use its normal process for awarding small business micro-grants, with a community advisory committee making recommendations on which businesses should get funded. A new process to apply for the macro-grant will be brought to the board for approval at its July 28 meeting.
District 5 Supervisor Richard Anderson expressed skepticism Tuesday over the decision to have the county’s funds go through the Nevada County Relief Fund — a process he said puts the county’s financial health in the hands of unelected community members and may be detrimental to the eastern part of the county.
“The approach that will need to be applied to eastern Nevada County will be different than these applied to western Nevada County,” Anderson said at the Tuesday meeting. “I’m not at all certain that the process that’s in place now will do us well.”
County Executive Officer Alison Lehman said the county has been receptive to input from eastern Nevada County and the plan could be modified before the next meeting.
“Our community could literally fail if we don’t do the right thing and do it in a manner that is well thought out,” Anderson said.
According to Nevada City Manager Catrina Olson, the city has submitted documentation to the state for its $50,000 allocation but no further details were available.
In Grass Valley, City Manager Tim Kiser said the city is awaiting guidance from the state on how exactly it can spend its $159,000 allocation.
Counties that receive funding are required to adhere to federal and state guidance and orders; report their expenditures; and return any unused or ineligible funds.
John Orona is a Staff Writer with The Union, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com or 530-477-4229.
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