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Ste. Gen Co. deals with CARES funding issues

Ste. Gen Co. deals with CARES funding issues

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Ste Genevieve Commission

Coping with CARES Act funding was an issue for the Ste. Genevieve County Commission earlier this month at the courthouse.

Brad Arnold, executive director of the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center, discussed changes being made to the center for COVID safety and the issues of purchasing items and having them installed before the deadline for CARES funding.

“We had talked about doing the hands-free faucets and toilet flushers,” he said. “We bid it all out and Shuh’s was the low bid on that. We’re just waiting on material at this point.”

Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said he hoped it was all done before the Dec. 30 deadline.

Arnold continued, “We talked about that, they know that’s the deadline. Everybody’s doing this right now, the parts that are usually two to four weeks are more like eight to 10 weeks. I made it clear to them, ‘You’re not going to get paid if you don’t get this done and get it to us in time.’ The only other thing that we are looking at right now is the buttons for ADA doors, they make a hands-free one now, instead of pushing the buttons.”

To add to the challenges of the CARES Act, the county’s processing of CARES Act funding has suddenly gotten more complicated.

Deputy County Clerk Michele Gatzemeyer explained the situation.

“The CARES Act funding, they made everybody aware when they initiated this that whoever was responsible for it, that there were going to be audits completed. Then, midstream, now they’ve come back and they said we’re going to initiate a portal. So, you have to register online for a portal, and now they are requiring you to go in and identify and document, and you’ve got all these deadlines to meet for the funding you are giving out. It’s a lot more paperwork.

“I started the process on Tuesday, and I’m still working with them. First of all, the portal website, I was having problems getting in to do my registration, I got that cleared up. Then, they advised me what spreadsheets of all the information that you have to do, it’s a lot.”

Nelson said the short notice was ridiculous. “Probably 75% of the people that applies to us for money, and us being so technical about it, they say, ‘That’s a joke, there’s no way they’re going to audit every county in the state of Missouri, every county in the United States.’

“They hired an auditing firm three weeks ago, and now they’re starting to do the audit. That’s why we’re so picky and turned down things we know are going to throw a red flag. The auditing has started. We thought it would be a year from now. What we’ve already given out, they’re going to start reviewing. The thing is, when they sent this, the deadline is so short for what we’ve done so far.”

Gatzemeyer said that the process is extensive. “Everything, tax ID numbers, reason for request, each individual item. It’s a nightmare. The bad thing about it is, I pointed out to them, ‘I understand what you guys are wanting, but keep in mind I still have my regular responsibilities. I can’t stop those, and we have elections, etc.'”

Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com

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