Lyon County Board: Small businesses are priority in COVID-19 relief fund

By Trina Thomas

The Lyon County Board met Tuesday to discuss how $3.1 million the county received in COVID-19 relief through the CARES fund will be dispersed.

The board came to the consensus that small businesses should be the priority, with non-profits, schools, etc., next in line.

“My number one priority is that money needs to go to the business community,” Board Vice-Chair Steve Ritter said. “I have done a lot of thinking about this. We need to put the guidelines out there for the businesses. Let them do the applications and see what’s left over and then we can talk about the non-profits.”

Board Chairman Rick Anderson proposed that $2 million be set to cover businesses and the rest on reserve for the unexpected.

These funds are to be used for costs that are related to COVID-19 and not accounted for in the previous budget that was approved March 27, 2020 but rather were incurred during the period that begins March 1, 2020 and ends on December 30, 2020.

In June, Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order to allocate $841.5 million of CARES Act funds to counties, cities, and townships over the population of 200. For cities and townships under the population of 200, they are allowed to seek reimbursement for any eligible expenses up to a maximum amount from their home county.

When it came to the applications for business owners, Election Official and Auditor/Treasurer EJ Moberg highlighted the importance of making it a simple process to apply.

“I want to make sure we do it right and are thoughtful for what’s on there so that we have the information we need without too much information.” Moberg said.

One piece of information they discussed being on the application is showing proof of business expenses and losses due to COVID-19.

“Everybody’s got expenses. Let’s address the businesses. Then find out where we’re actually at then address the leftover money later,” Commissioner Charlie Sanow said.

In the end, a decision wasn’t made on where the funds should go. The Board directed the committee to put together a more concrete plan to present to the board in two weeks.

In other news, the board …

• Approved a resolution for Heidi Fier of the Veterans Service Office to apply for operational grant in the amount of $10,000.

• Approved the revised joint powers agreement for Counties Providing Technology.

• Approved authorization to sign joint power agreements for state primary and state general elections to conduct recount of the votes cast if necessary.

• Approved the execution of Equipment Grant Agreement for a grant awarded to Lyon County for assistive voting devices of $18,176.23.

• Adopted the resolution approving Lyon County’s application for funding from the CARES Act Grant for election funding in the amount of $17,971.84.

• Obtain Ehlers and Associates to help with CARES Grant.

• Approved archive county commissioner minute books with ArcaSearch.