Centerville seeks to land $2.48M in federal COVID-19 relief funds

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. FILE
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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. FILE

Credit: Cosette Gunter

CENTERVILLE — City officials are in initial talks about how Centerville may spend federal COVID-19 rescue funds, and those priorities are expected to firm up once the money is awarded.

Centerville is eligible for $2.48 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds and late last week planned to apply for that allotment.

“I’m pretty confident that we’re going to receive funding for the amount that they’re showing,” Centerville Finance Director Tyler Roark said.

The city became eligible in recent weeks after passage of House Bill 168, which 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.

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

If approved for American Rescue Plan money, Centerville will receive half of the funds this year and half next year, Roark said. City council will decide how the money would be used under guidelines outlined by the U.S. Treasury Department, he said.

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

The money 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.

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The city has started work on its 2022 budget, and “I certainly think we’re going to have some conversations this fall,” about how any rescue plan funds can be spent, Roark said.

At least part of the focus, he said, will likely be “the response to the public health emergency or infrastructure.”

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, Davis said.

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“Most Centerville businesses did not shut down during COVID; they adapted operations,” Davis said in a statement. “The city worked with businesses to allow for expanded patios and relaxed signage enforcement to enable them to remain open whenever possible.”

The city also provided grants of up to $5,000 to “nonprofits for qualifying social and family service providers focusing on access to food, domestic violence supportive services, substance abuse, services benefiting senior citizens and foreclosure prevention,” he said.

Last year, Roark said, “we were patient with CARES funding to make sure that things were very clear when we decided to act on spending the money.

“This year we have a lot more time … to be strategic on where we apply these funds,” he added.

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