Whitehall using CARES Act funds to pay overtime, support small businesses

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
The Whitehall Division of Police is at 365 S. Yearling Road.

Much of the funding Whitehall received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act has been used to pay for overtime, according to Mayor Kim Maggard.

The city is using its share of CARES Act funding to offset the cost of administrative overtime when Whitehall employees became ill from the COVID-19 coronavirus during the year, Maggard said.

The funding also been used for the salaries of safety-department employees, including overtime for them, she said.

Whitehall received $2.3 million in CARES Act funding. The CARES Act is a $2.2 trillion economic-stimulus package enacted by the federal government in March 2020 to address the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve used a majority to pay the salaries of our firefighters and medics who are treating COVID patients, as well as the cost for (personal-protective equipment),” Maggard said.

Although the costs for personnel and PPE did not exceed the ability of the city to fund it, the city chose to use the CARES Act revenue, which is permitted to fund safety-services, she said. That allowed the city to return some money to the general fund to use for other purposes, she said.

“We saw a drop in our income-tax revenue (compared to previous projections) this year because of the pandemic, so these additional dollars allows us to continue providing other services,” Maggard said.

The city also set aside $100,000 to support small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Megan Meyer, community-affairs manager for Whitehall, said as of Nov. 24, 19 businesses had applied, and the city was reviewing the applications.

The city has allocated but not yet dispersed the CARES Act revenue, Maggard said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo