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Cd'A: First responders could see share of extra COVID funds

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | December 5, 2020 1:00 AM

The extra $100,000 left over from a gap in federal funds earmarked for Coeur d’Alene business relief will go to back into city coffers but will likely make its way to first responders working in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $100,000 was left over from a small business grant program originally designated from federal CARES Act funds divvied to Coeur d’Alene for coronavirus-related relief. That grant program was part of Coeur d’Alene’s $1.7 million cut of Idaho’s $1.25 billion the state received from the federal government as part of its April stimulus package.

Stephanie Padilla, city accountant for Coeur d’Alene, informed the city that its grant program has officially expired.

“It’s something interesting for the coronavirus,” she said at Tuesday’s council meeting. “We have one piece that is coming to an end, which doesn’t seem to be happening with the coronavirus lately. The applications of our small business grants are finished.”

By the time the deadline for applicants lapsed Tuesday evening, 46 Coeur d’Alene businesses had been awarded, with additional applications pending from a flurry of last-minute inquiries.

Child care and youth service providers in Coeur d’Alene have been awarded $79,000 to help offset the costs of COVID-19-related expenses. Senior services took in $47,500 in funding, while real estate agencies and support businesses took in $25,000. Just over $18,000 went to food service businesses within Coeur d’Alene, while medical companies took advantage of just over $12,000 in funding. Nonprofits were awarded $10,000, while retailers applied for and received just over $8,000.

Despite the excess funds, the $100,000 going back for general purposes must still be directed toward COVID-19 relief.

Padilla said the funds fall under the purview of the state comptroller’s office, so they must adhere to strict guidelines that provide in limited terms for COVID relief.

Mayor Steve Widmyer praised Padilla, the volunteer oversight committee and the various departments involved.

“It all started with a phone call from that original person from a business that said, ‘Hey, I thought this was available.’ That person talked to Troy (Tymesen, city administrator), Troy talked to Vonnie (Jensen, city comptroller), Vonnie got together with Stephanie, and this whole thing happened and helped 46-plus businesses," he said.