Centerville awarded $2.48M in federal COVID relief funds, spending plan undecided

Centerville's uptown plan includes a corridor of small businesses and is the focus of an estimated 10 million project designed to transform the historic town center in and around the intersection of north Main and Franklin Streets. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
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Centerville's uptown plan includes a corridor of small businesses and is the focus of an estimated 10 million project designed to transform the historic town center in and around the intersection of north Main and Franklin Streets. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

CENTERVILLE — The city has been approved for $2.48 million in federal COVID-19 rescue funds and decisions on how to spend it will likely be made later this year.

Half of the American Rescue Plan Act funds will be available this year and the remainder will come in 2022, said Centerville Finance Director Tyler Roark.

Infrastructure is one area city officials are considering, but firm decisions will be made in the months ahead, he said.

The city “will take time to develop strategic ways to utilize the funds based on the detailed guidance” of the U.S. Treasury and the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, Roark said in an email. “This guidance will continue to evolve over the performance period.”

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He said “some possibilities include storm water projects, mitigating water issues and broadband infrastructure enhancements.”

The performance period runs through 2026, according to the Ohio OMB website. Funds “can only be used for costs incurred” from March 3, 2021 through 2024, it states.

The city became eligible earlier this year after passage of an Ohio bill, records show. HB 168 allows cities, villages and townships with populations under 50,000 to receive part of the $130 billion plan for local governments signed by President Joe Biden for coronavirus relief.

Ohio policymakers allocated $422 million for Ohio’s townships and “non-entitlement” cities, which includes Centerville, according to the Greater Ohio Policy Center.

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The rescue funds can help offset “revenue losses they have experienced as a result of the crisis,” according to the treasury.

They can also be used to “help them cover the costs incurred due responding to the public health emergency and provide support for a recovery — including through assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, aid to impacted industries, and support for essential workers,” according to the website.

Centerville used about $110,000 of CARES Act funds last year to help businesses — which provide income taxes that make up 85% of its revenue base — and nonprofits remain open, city officials have said. It also eased guidelines, helping to lessen job losses.

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Centerville’s 2020 net tax receipts were up 1.25% compared to 2019 with total income tax collections last year at $20.36 million, Roark said.

Keeping small businesses viable in 2020 using CARES Act funds was a focus for the city, Centerville City Manager Wayne Davis has said.

Many businesses adapted their operations to COVID restrictions and the city eased guidelines to help them remain open, he added.

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