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Funding to ‘SPARK’ county COVID-19 response
Barton County receives $5 million in CARES Act funding
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Barton County will receive over $5 million to “help combat the health and economic challenges brought on by COVID-19 and to help prepare local entities for any future outbreaks of the disease,” said County Administrator Phil Hathcock Tuesday evening. The money is part of $400 million being distributed statewide in round-one Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding.

“Round one funding must be used for reimbursement and direct aid for eligible expenditures as outlined by the federal CARES Act,” he said. “The monies will provide much-needed relief for ongoing public health and emergency services. Reimbursements will help offset direct expenses so Barton County can continue to provide quality services and support.”  

Barton County will receive $5,268,052 to address these medical and public health needs, and provide economic support to those suffering from business interruptions. Under the first round, each county in Kansas will receive funding based on population, COVID cases and unemployment rates.

In addition, counties are encouraged to share funding with cities, schools, and local businesses. 

A plan will need to be devised quickly to report COVID expenditures to the state, Hathcock said. Additional announcements are expected within the upcoming weeks.   

It was in mid-May that Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced the creation of the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Taskforce to serve as the Recovery Office team responsible for the statewide distribution of over $1 billion dollars in CARES Act funding. In early June, the SPARK taskforce held its initial meeting and established a three-round distribution of the money.

Round One includes the distribution of $400 million in CARES Act funding across local Kansas county government. 

“Kansas communities and businesses are hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kelly said. “We must get these resources to Kansas counties as quickly as possible. To do that, we need an office infrastructure that’s prepared to administer these funds efficiently and effectively.”

The Kansas Association of Counties is working with the Governor’s Office of Recovery to assist counties in drafting plans and answering questions related to the c qualifying expenditures. Each county must first pass a resolution affirming that they will allocate the funding consistent with the specifically mandated federal COVID-19 expenditure requirements; and share and allocate funds to educational and municipal entities within their counties before receiving their designated funds. 

Kansas counties are guaranteed to receive approximately $194 for each county resident (this would have been $5,007,829 for Barton County). Counties will also receive additional Impact Fund dollars based on their COVID-19 case rates and unemployment rates (bringing Barton County’s total to the $5.2 million number). 

These Impact Funds help provide monetary support for those counties hit hardest by the virus, the KAC reported. Kansas counties will receive their full round one funds allocation beginning on July 15.