FRONT ROYAL – The county continues preparations to disburse its $7 million share of Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Securities (CARES) Act funding allocated to aid businesses, nonprofit organizations, first responder salaries, schools and more.
Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors decided how its initial $3.5 million of CARES funding will be allocated and earlier this week the supervisors approved how the additional $3.5 million of CARES funding will be distributed.
As with the first round of CARES funding the county received, the town will receive about $1.2 million, a split determined based on population sizes.
According to Chamber of Commerce President Niki Foster, the town has already distributed $672,500 to over 60 businesses that suffered economic hardships stemming from the virus.
Town Finance Director B.J. Wilson explained via telephone that businesses must first use the money “to pay outstanding balances on Town of Front Royal utility accounts to provide essential utility service for business.” The remaining balance, he said, “will be used for expenditures related to small business to reimburse the cost of business interruption caused by the COVID-19 health emergency.”
He added that the town will use $100,000 to fund virus-related expenses including face masks, first responder overtime salaries, disinfecting material and more.
For the new round of funding, Wilson said the town has begun discussions on how it will be distributed but that remains to be determined. He added that the town will accept applications for round-two funding from Monday to Sept. 1, or until funds are exhausted.
Since the town and the county cannot directly give money to businesses, the Chamber of Commerce is facilitating disbursements.
Rick Farrall, the county’s deputy emergency manager, said recently that the county soon will begin reviewing applications and hopefully begin disbursements in September. He said applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of a supervisor, a Chamber of Commerce representative, and a Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority board member. If the money is not disbursed by the year’s end it must be returned, but he said the county should have no problem meeting that deadline.
Of the second round of the $3.5 million, Warren County Public Schools will receive $300,000 to purchase 900 computers to aid in virtual learning. The county also set aside $1 million to support small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Additionally, the county will use $801,038 of its new CARES funding to compensate first responders and $200,260 to help citizens facing economic hardships pay their utility bills.