Though the money hasn’t hit local coffers yet, Kendall County officials say they still don’t quite know how they’ll be able to spend a $25 million in COVID-19 stimulus relief funds from the federal government.
County board members described frustration as they find themselves unable to answer residents’ questions about how the money will be used. County Board Vice Chairman Matt Kellogg identified rural broadband, lost revenue and local water needs during a meeting Tuesday, May 4 as potential opportunities for spending the stimulus.
“We’ve talked about spending some of the money to get things in place so they’re shovel ready,” Kellogg said, mentioning fixing water mains in Boulder Hill and sewage improvements along Interstate 80 in Minooka.
As for dolling out grants to local businesses, officials said business owners were being asked to prove economic hardship and prior PPP loans. Without knowing who needs what in local industry, it could limit how well the funds get distributed.
“That’s the biggest challenge for us I think are the businesses,” Kellogg said. “We don’t know where the gaps are missed, who got the PPP money, who didn’t qualify, who’s doing poorly because they threw their hands up and gave up, or pulled up their bootstraps and went to work and made more money than they ever did.”
But the county is trying to make it easy for businesses how eventually to apply for grants. County Administrator Scott Koeppel said plans where in the works to create an online application portal for businesses.
“So we’ll be a little bit ahead of the state, and you won’t have to fill out paper to mail it to us hopefully,” Koeppel said.