NEOSHO, Mo. — Grants of more than $1.4 million have been awarded so far by the Newton County Commission for COVID-19 expenses incurred by local governments and organizations.
The county received more than $6.8 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act approved in March by Congress for local distribution. The grant will cover eligible expenses through Dec. 30.
Much of the money has gone to schools and other government agencies in the county.
The first round of grants were approved Aug. 19, providing $464,362 to county governments and agencies to reimburse COVID-19 expenses.
The largest payments in the August grant round went to schools. The Neosho School District received $208,616; Diamond, $66,368; East Newton, $61,130; and Westview, $41,624
Eight separate grant applications totaling $37,502 were approved for the Newton County Health Department. Two grants totaling $36,723 went to the Newton County government.
Others were: three grants totaling $6,371 to the Redings Mill Fire Protection District; two grants totaling $4,019 to the Newton County Library; and one to the city of Seneca for $2,720.
The commission denied three applications in August that did not meet eligibility under the categories established by the CARES Act for reimbursement, according to county records. Those were two grants to the county health department totaling $18,059 and one to the city of Neosho for $10,640.
The county's grants list did not specify the purchases reimbursed in the first round of grants.
On Aug. 26, the county approved a second round of grants including one for $295,700 to the Newton County Emergency Management System to buy several UV lights — electromagnetic radiation that kills viruses such as the new coronavirus — for distribution to county agencies.
Also approved were two grants to the Newton County Central Dispatch Center for a total of $95,185 for what is listed as phone and radio equipment; $13,500 to the Newton County prosecutor for a temporary victims' advocate; $975 to the Newton County Library for sanitization supplies and gloves; and $460 to the health department for the cost of advertising an open nurse position.
Two applicants were denied. One was $16,307 for security access to doors at the Newton County Health Department which the county notes is a capital improvement not covered for reimbursement. The other was an application by Crowder Industries Inc. for $18,726 in employee wages.
Presiding Commissioner Bill Reiboldt said the CARES Act does not provide reimbursement for lost revenue in income such as that requested by Crowder Industries.
Two more of those types of requests were denied in a round of grants considered Sept. 16.
One involved Viking Lines Inc. doing business as Viking Trailways located in south Joplin. That company filed an application for reimbursement of $434,465 for lost revenue because of the cancellation of its travel services during the pandemic. The commission denied it.
The other was Teen Challenge International in Neosho, which sought $42,940 in lost income from fundraisers the nonprofit had to cancel, according to commission documents.
There were $515,390 in grant requests approved in the Sept. 16 round.
The largest of those was $384,601 to Freeman Neosho Hospital to provide a telemedicine system to schools.
Grants for personal protective equipment and sanitization were approved. The Newton County Sheriff's Office will be reimbursed for $21,363; Mercy Hospital Joplin for $14,500; the city of Joplin for personal protective equipment and costs involved in quarantining individuals totaling $12,775; two UV lights for the Redings Mill Fire Protection District; and $1,500 for the Newton County Health Department.
Reimbursement to Newton County government for personal protection equipment was approved on Sept. 2 for $30,000 as was reimbursement of technology for working remotely at a cost of $9,000.
The county reports a balance of CARES Act funding available at more than $5.4 million.