Approaching $750K: Monroe County reimbursement grants to businesses using CARES Act money

Monroe County’s total allocation of awards to local businesses, nonprofits and other governmental entities using federal COVID-19 pandemic relief money is now approaching three quarters of a million dollars.

This is a partial list of businesses, nonprofits and taxing units that have received reimbursement pandemic relief grants through Monroe County government, sorted by grant amounts. A complete table is include below.

At their regular Wednesday meeting, county commissioners approved a total $64,724 in the latest round of allocations to local businesses to reimburse COVID-19 expenses. The grand total amount that’s been awarded so far now stands at $743,654.

Wednesday’s grantees included: Dimension Mill; Hive; Jerry G. Miller; Katherine James Designs; Monroe County Public Library; Nick’s English Hut, Inc; One World Catering; Pizza Express, Inc; Rainbow (Hopscotch) Bakery; The Wonderlab Museum; Upland Brewing Company, Inc;VTG Enterprises; Landlocked Enterprises, Inc; Innovative Financial Solutions; Laughlin Financial LLC; Litwin Enterprises; and BloomingPaws LLC.

On Wednesday, after Monroe County’s financial director, Brianne Gregory, presented the item, commissioners approved the allocations without a lot of extra discussion.

Board of commissioners president Julie Thomas noted that the application deadline for the grants is April 30. That means only a couple more weeks are left for businesses, nonprofits, and other governmental entities to apply for the reimbursements.

The county has set up a web page with a form for applicants to fill out.

The basic purpose of the funds is to reimburse non-payroll pandemic-related expenses that haven’t been covered by some other program.

The money that Monroe County has been distributing to businesses and government entities comes from a total $4.7 million CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act allocation to the county.

The county’s federal relief program started with the county government acting as a clearinghouse of sorts, by passing through to the state the claims submitted by local businesses and governmental units—like the library and townships—for non-payroll expenses related to COVID-19.

The state eventually asked the county to submit the county’s own expenses for public safety, which were enough to get reimbursement to the county for the whole $4.7 million.

With the money now sitting in the county’s general fund, it’s now up to the county government to reimburse local businesses and governmental units.

The federal CARES Act funding pre-dates the more recent American Rescue Plan money.

The Bloomington and Monroe County estimated shares of the American Rescue Plan Act  of 2021 (ARPA) are $22 million and $29 million, respectively.

The county commissioners are due to join the county council at the council’s April 27 work session to kick off discussion of how the ARPA money should be spent. The text of the bill  outlines how cities and counties can use the money.

[Added April 14 at 9:17 p.m.] President of the board of commissioners, Julie Thomas, told The Square Beacon a lot of details on possible use of the funds are still missing. She thinks the first priority will be to recover any lost tax revenue. The first step will be to approve an ordinance that establishes a fund to receive the money, Thomas said. 

In the text of the ARPA, one broad category of possible uses includes efforts to respond to the COVID-19 health emergency or its “negative economic impacts.” Specific examples mentioned in the text of the bill include: “assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.”

Another category of possible use is to provide premium pay for government employees doing essential work. A third category involves making up for revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic so that government services can be provided.

Finally, the bill allows the funds to be spent on water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

ARPA Text: Possible uses of American Rescue Plan funding

(1) USE OF FUNDS.—Subject to paragraph (2), and except as provided in paragraphs (3) and (4), a metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county shall only use the funds provided under a payment made under this section to cover costs incurred by the metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county, by December 31, 2024—
(A) to respond to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality; H. R. 1319—229
(B) to respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID–19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work;
(C) for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county prior to the emergency; or
(D) to make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

Table: CARES Act grants as of April 14, 2021

Business Name Amount
Monroe County Public Library $86,129
Switchyard Holdings $30,000
Crumble $30,000
Upland Brewing Company, INC $30,000
Function Brewing $26,813
Dimension Mill Inc $26,019
Nick’s English Hut $25,558
Life Designs INC $25,112
Boys and Girls Clubs INC. $25,042
Michael’s Uptown Café $22,751
The Wonderlab Museum $22,266
Penguin Enterprises, LLC $20,101
Beacon, Inc $20,000
Janko’s Little Zagreb $19,993
YMCA $19,784
Vibe Yoga $19,571
RVC Holdings/C3 Bar $18,415
Convention Center Mgmt Co $18,292
One World Catering, LLC $18,119
HealthNet, Inc $16,644
Cave Group, INC/Malibu Grill $15,232
The Village Deli $13,964
Bluebird Live Inc $13,637
Soma $9,534
Curry Auto Center $8,632
The Farm Restaurant $7,926
BloomingPaws LLC $7,829
Acacia Building Corporation $7,725
WonderLab $7,721
Campus Tutoring, LLC $7,192
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce $7,049
Lennie’s $6,671
Hive $6,302
Alibi LLC $5,602
The Laughing Planet Café $5,237
Far $5,150
High and Fine $5,016
Cinema Pub Inc $4,828
Richland Township $4,356
The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau of Monroe County $4,352
VTG Enterprises/Popkorn Kernels $4,321
Carmichael Center LP $3,905
The Cocuun $3,881
Loren Wood Builders $3,724
Disque/Mardon Salon $3,617
BUGS $3,364
Landlocked Enterprises Inc. $3,277
Trendin Vendin $3,250
Katherine James Designs $3,201
Cajun House/DATS $3,156
Bloomington Real Estate/RE/MAX $2,983
Litwin Enterprises LLC $2,920
Benton Township $2,460
BCT Management/Buskirk-Chumley $2,275
Royale Hair Parlor $2,248
Rainbow (Hopscotch) Bakery $1,904
Monroe County Humane Association $1,830
Innovative Financial Solutions $1,800
Bunger & Robertson $1,487
Jerry G. Miller $1,318
ProNails $1,213
Laughlin Financial LLC $1,170
Gather $937
Patient PT LLC $821
Pizza X $735
Move and Bloom $679
Ally Barber $675
Deborah Zera $660
Oak Native $650
Gallagher Properties, INC $650
Fine Craft/By Hand $644
MC Humane Society $568
Santo Family Insurance $548
Four Walls LLC $520
Cup & Kettle $514
Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping/Pamela Green/Purple Band Fitness $425
Bloomington Salt Cave $323
Hoosier Films Inc. $224
Yoga Mala $215
Grand Total $743,654