Wyoming County has secured $2.4 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to reimburse county expenses related to COVID-19 and provide financial assistance to businesses, nonprofits and municipalities.
“This is pretty exciting news for the people of Wyoming County,” Commissioner Rick Wilbur said.
The county commissioners discussed funding plans during their meeting on Tuesday. Among others, the main expenses on the county side include disinfecting the courthouse for reopening, as well as overtime and hazard pay, Wilbur said.
“That’s about $250-300,000. The remaining $2.1 million approximately is going to be used for a number of different purposes,” he said.
The commissioners will administer grants to these entities in Wyoming County:
- Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees who did not receive funding through the federal Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. (However, they encouraged business owners who received assistance from either program to still apply as they await clarification on eligibility in these situations.)
- Municipalities for direct expenses related to COVID-19, except for loss of revenue. (Another program in the works as part of Pennsylvania’s overall CARES Act allocation should allow counties and municipalities to apply for revenue loss, Wilbur said.)
- Tourism businesses of all sizes.
- Nonprofit organizations (501c3 and 501c19).
The county wants to first prioritize applicants providing services such as food distribution. Afterward, Wilbur said those remaining can expect equal funding, with the amount depending on the number of applicants.
To apply or request more information, email WeCARE@wycopa.org. If you don’t have email, call 570-996-2273 or 570-996-2227 between 10 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday. Information and an application, which Wilbur expects to be completed today, will be sent to you.
The commissioners also highlighted other funding opportunities available:
- Small Business Support Grant: $170,000 will be available soon for eligible for-profit businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees on the payroll as of March 1, 2020. Those in designated Community Development Block Grant, redevelopment, or blighted areas in Wyoming County will get preference. Contact Trehab at 570-278-5240 to apply or request information.
- Small Business Assistance Program for all of Pennsylvania: $100 million is becoming available July 1 to businesses with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees and less than $1 million in annual gross revenue. Contact Trehab at 570-278-5240 and visit pabusinessgrants.com
- Rent Relief Program: Administered through the Commission for Economic Opportunity and Wyoming County Human Services, applicants can receive up to $750 per month for up to six months if they suffered at least a 30% reduction in income due to COVID-19. Contact information and final eligibility details are to be announced.
In other business, Commissioner Tom Henry announced that Roadside Rest in Eaton Twp. has been closed down again until further notice after several complaints over the past two weekends.
“I’m worried about July 4 coming up,” Henry said. The other day, he kicked people out who were partying with loud music, starting fires by the water and leaving trash everywhere.
The commissioners also announced that the 911 Advisory Committee voted against a funding formula proposal that would have resulted in Wyoming County losing more than half of its yearly 911 budget.
They received notice that Act 13 funds this year will total $1,071,042, with $25,000 specifically for the Marcellus Legacy Fund. This total is around $250,000 less than 2019.
The county will add this funding, minus the legacy funds which have their own purpose, to the $850,000 in Act 13 funds currently in the bank in hopes of having reserves for hard times.
Also, Wilbur said LaBella Associates looked at two problematic county bridges on Creek Road in Falls Twp. and Lockville Road in Exeter Twp. The commissioners received incorrect information and previously stated that a bridge on Brides Drive in Falls Twp. was an issue.
The Creek Road bridge appears to only require a deck replacement. The Lockville Road bridge needs replacing, though the abutments look to be in good shape, Wilbur said. If this is the case, he anticipates the county having enough in liquid fuels funding to cover both projects.
In order to reopen Lockville Road, officials in Exeter Twp. will need to reclaim a quarter mile section of the road that was abandoned when the county closed the bridge. After talks with the Wyoming County Conservation District, Wilbur said there seems to be sufficient funding to perform this work.
Previously, the commissioners received a letter from the Service Employees International Union asking if the county is willing to extend its union contract for correctional facility employees. According to Wilbur, they settled on giving all corrections employees a $0.25 raise with no other changes to their contract for one year.
The same contract extension was granted to other employees under the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The Wyoming County Commissioners are scheduled to meet again on July 7 at 9 a.m. Login information for the virtual meeting is available on wycopa.org.