CARES Fund Plan On Assembly Table

Category: Local News
Created on Tuesday, 07 July 2020 16:03


Sentinel Staff Writer

The Assembly at tonight’s special meeting will review the local budget for the CARES Act funds that will be distributed to Sitka businesses, nonprofits and other entities.

The city received some $14 million from the federal program to offset the economic effects of COVID-19 on the community.

So far, some $4.5 million has been allotted for utility and moorage assistance for residents and businesses, and the application period for both programs will be open through the end of this month.

At a June 18 special meeting, the Assembly received a city Working Group’s budget and distribution plan for the rest of the funds. The Assembly made a few changes and sent the document back to the Working Group for fine-tuning.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall, where face masks are recommended but not required. The meeting room is set up for social distancing, and remote access to the meeting will be available on YouTube and the city website.

City Administrator John Leach said he’s hoping to get final approval on the Working Group’s budget so it can come back in ordinance form for adoption at the July 14 and July 28 meetings.

The budget and distribution proposal for Sitka CARES funds:

Category 1: Utility/Moorage Assistance - $4.5M (program active)


Category 2: Business and Nonprofit Grants - $5M 

– $2,500 grant for businesses/nonprofits with 2019 revenues under $100,000

– $5,000 for businesses/nonprofits with 2019 revenues of over $100,000 but less than $250,000

– $7,500 for businesses/nonprofits with 2019 revenues of over $250,000 but less than $500,000

– $10,000 for businesses/nonprofits with 2019 revenues of over $500,000

– Special option: “The gross revenue for my business or nonprofit does not appropriately capture the scope of the services my business or nonprofit provides to the community and I would like the Assembly to consider, in public session, awarding at a higher level.”


Category 3: New City Funded Programs - $2.5M

- Childcare $500,000 (possible per child subsidy, additional funding to increase capacity)

- Food security $200,000 (partnering with STA, SCS, USDA grants, ensuring local meal and pantry programs covered as well)

- Support for behavioral/mental health $300,000 (Possible organizational voucher/subsidy per uninsured client served)

- Housing support $750,000 (Crisis/emergency, Re-housing, transitional)

- Transitional Employment Program $750,000 (Unemployed/under-employed hired to work on projects in Sitka)


Category 4: City Impact/Mitigation Spending - $1M

- Mitigation/preparation

- IT

- Protection of employees and public

- Ensure continued services in event of shutdown

- CARES spending consultation

- Cover significant portion of cost of public safety


Category 5: Sitka School District Request - $430K (already awarded)

- Americorps volunteers and laptop purchases.

- SSD has requested that they return the Secure Rural Schools funding for fiscal year 2020 ($229K) to the CBS, and we increase their CARES request by an equivalent amount to $660K.


Category 6: Contingency - $627,653

- To be available if a known or unknown urgent COVID need arises. If not spent, could go either toward another round of utility subsidy or to the city’s public safety costs.