Dillingham City Council approves CARES funding for COVID-19 relief

Sep 4, 2020

The Finance and Budget Committee set aside 20% of funding for a CARES Act grant program, which can be used only for expenses related to the pandemic.

 

Dillingham City Hall. Friday, September 4, 2020.
Credit Izzy Ross/KDLG

The City of Dillingham received over $3.4 million under the CARES Act to help offset the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dillingham’s Finance and Budget Committee has split that funding into four main categories.

A third of that funding — 33% — is for city expenses such as wages to compensate people for increased responsibilities, increased cleaning of facilities, purchasing PPE and cleaning supplies, as well as safety advertisements.

Another third — 32% — is for municipal projects. Those include initiatives like the Capstone Clinic, which provides COVID-19 testing at the Dillingham airport, and improving emergency communication systems.

The committee allocated 15% of the money to the Dillingham City Schools District.

It also set aside 20% of funding for a CARES Act grant program.

Local businesses can qualify for a grant of up to $5,000. Anita Fuller, the city’s finance director explained how the city determines eligibility. 

“For a business to know if they’re eligible, they’ll need to declare that they’re not a C Corporation, trading US stock, they cannot be a national chain, and they cannot be in bankruptcy,” said Fuller. “These are certain things that would make a business not qualify. The biggest thing for the City of Dillingham is that the business has a City of Dillingham 2020 Business License.”

That means that commercial fishermen and other non-traditional businesses, like freelancers and independent sellers, cannot apply for a business grant unless they have a current business license from the city. 

Businesses obtaining money through these grants must spend funds on COVID-19 expenses such as PPE for workers, increasing cleaning, wages, inventory loss, or to make up for loss of sales due to mandatory shutdowns.

Fuller said fishermen and non-traditional businesses are still eligible to apply for individual grants. These grants are intended for people to offset personal financial loss.

“For individuals, they have to declare that they’ve had some type of economic hardship because of COVID-19, such as they lost employment for a period of time, they had to stay home and they did not have leave that would be able to cover for that period — they can declare that hardship,” said Fuller, “We’re going to have it set aside by households so an individual household can have $300 up to $1,000.”

Individuals applying for grants have to declare how they want to spend that money. The city will pay businesses directly. Households are limited to one individual grant, and cannot qualify if a member of their household has received money from a business grant. 

CARES Act funding for both individuals and businesses can be used only for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bills must be marked from March 2020 or later. People can apply for grants from September 7th - 30th.

Contact the author at brian@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.