The CARES Act was signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020 and provides funding for a variety of programs intended to alleviate the impact of COVID-19. Section 5001 of the CARES Act establishes the Coronavirus Relief Fund which offsets necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Act 24 of 2020 was signed by Governor Wolf on May 29, 2020. This legislation provides $625 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief funding by means of block grants for counties in the commonwealth through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Mercer County received $9,881,956 in block grant funding.
- September 3, 2020 – Grant application opens
- September 18, 2020 – First Round of grant applications due by 4:00 p.m.
- September 19, 2020 – Second Round of grant applications open
- December 30, 2020 –Deadline for spending grant funds
*Once funds are exhausted, no further applications will be accepted.
- Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees and tourism organizations
- Nonprofit organizations as defined by Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Behavioral health and substance abuse disorder treatment providers
- Municipal governments
NOTE: Priority for the COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant will be given to businesses that have not received previous COVID-19 funding grants from any of the available CARES programs.
Eligible Uses of Block Grant Funding
Funds shall be used to cover only those costs that were:
- Necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19
- Not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (government applicants); and
- Incurred during the period from March 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020.
The Mercer County Commissioners have decided to allocate the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund block grant to the following eligible uses:
- Offsetting the cost of the County’s COVID-19 direct response, planning and outreach efforts, including the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Grants to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
- For tourism businesses of all sizes.
- Assistance to municipalities in the County for COVID-19 response and planning efforts, including the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment.
- Grant programs to support costs of assisting businesses during the COVID-19 disaster emergency for certified economic development organizations (CEDOs), small business development centers (SBDCs), industrial resource centers (IRCs) and economic development corporations (EDCs).
- Behavioral health and substance abuse disorder treatment services.
- Nonprofit assistance programs for tax exempt entities covered by Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Ineligible expenses include but are not limited to the following:
- Expenses not related to the COVID-19 public emergency
- Expenses incurred outside of the March 1 to December 30, 2020 timeframe
- Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed through another federal program or some other funding source
- Damages covered by insurance
- Payroll or benefits expenses for employees whose work duties are not substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency
- Reimbursing donors for donated items or services
- Employee bonuses other than overtime
- Severance pay
- Legal settlements
Application and Review Procedures
All applications must be completed by Friday, September 18 at 4:00 p.m. A task force of County officials will evaluate applications submitted in each eligible use category and submit funding recommendations to the Mercer County Commissioners who will make final funding awards. Applications will be evaluated based upon the applicant’s need for funding, community impact of the investment, and ability to spend program funds within established guidelines
Procedures for Accessing Funds
Successful applicants will be notified and will enter into a contract with Mercer County for expenditure of funds. All funds must be fully expended by Wednesday, December 30, 2020.
Compliance, Reporting, and Auditing
Fund payments are subject to the requirements in the Uniform Guidance (2 C.F.R. Part 200) applicable to federal financial assistance, including 2 C.F.R. § 200.303 regarding internal controls, 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.330 through 200.332 regarding subrecipient monitoring and management, and Subpart F regarding audit requirements. Monthly reporting with supporting documentation will be required.
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