By Anne Hassler Heidel
McPHERSON—As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by the U.S. Congress on March 25, 2020, the State of Kansas received $1.2 billion to be used for recovery efforts from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that $1.2 billion, the state divided up $400 million among the state’s counties. The Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) committee appointed by Governor Laura Kelly devised a formula of $194 per resident plus an additional factor based on infection rates and unemployment rates to determine how much each county received. The $194/resident for 103 counties accounts for $350 million of the SPARK funding. (Sedgwick and Johnson Counties already received $194/resident in a previous round of funding.) The remaining $50 million is divided up based on infection rates and unemployment rates among all 105 counties. McPherson County received a total of $5.7 million.
While $5.7 million might seem like a windfall for the county, there are limits and stipulations placed on how that money can be used.
Funds must be used to address public health needs or provide economic support to those suffering from employment or business interruptions due to COVID-19. The funds must be for expenditures incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.
County Administrator Rick Witte reached out to local city governments, school districts and non-profits to submit requests for the SPARK funds. Twenty-eight different entities submitted requests totaling just over $5 million. The remaining $666,000 was set aside for three programs: Loss of Income for-profit and non-profit businesses ($500,000), Rent Subsidy program ($100,000), and Childcare Study and Subsidy ($66,000). These programs will be implemented by the county directly.
The $5 million to be divided between the 28 entities will be divided as follows:
McPherson County – $765.998
McPherson Programs – $110,000
City of McPherson – $685,345
City of Lindsborg – $182,110
Lindsborg Childcare – $50,000
City of Inman – $12,200
City of Marquette – $5,220
City of Moundridge – $21,156
Marquette Learning Center – $7,430
McPherson Recreation Department – $13,047
McPherson Family YMCA – $63,317
USD 418 McPherson – $1,009,200*
USD 419 Canton/Galva – $132,400*
USD 423 Moundridge – $160,000*
USD 448 Inman – $160,000*
USD 400 Lindsborg/Marquette – $421,600*
St. Joseph Catholic School – $55,200*
Elyria Christian School – $77,200*
McPherson College – $250,000
Central Christian College of Kansas – $250,000
Bethany College – $250,000
MCDS – $96,600**
DSGP – $73,800**
Pleasant View Home – $66,495
Bethany Home – $46,505
Bluestem/PACE – $88,417
Riverview Estates – $22,219
Pine Village – $14,615
*Primary education school amounts were based on $420/student
**Client specialty services amounts were based on $600/client
Another round of SPARKs funding will begin in August and focus on public/private entities to strengthen the economy, totaling $314 million. Round two will include funding for public health, economic development, connectivity (broadband), and education. Fund distribution in round two will be done primarily by state agencies. For more information, visit covid.ks.gov/spark-meetings/.