At its regular Wednesday meeting, Monroe County’s three-member board of commissioners approved four more federal COVID-19 pandemic relief grants to area businesses or nonprofits. That ratcheted the total amount awarded towards $600,000.
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.
On Wednesday, Monroe County’s financial director, Brianne Gregory, gave commissioners a quick briefing on the four grants they were asked to approve that morning, which totaled $62,028.
The grants went to Cave Group, Inc., Boys and Girls Club, Bluebird Live, Inc., and Life Designs, Inc.
At its regular Wednesday meeting Monroe County’s three-member board of commissioners approved federal pandemic relief for five more area businesses, pushing the total amount awarded to over a half million dollars.
At their Wednesday meeting, county commissioners approved another $48,698 in reimbursements to five different businesses, bringing the grand total so far to $531,278.
Awarded money in Wednesday’s round of approvals were Crumble ($30,000), Litwin Enterprises ($881.19) Michael’s Uptown Cafe ($13,123.62), Gallagher Properties, INC ($650), and C3 Bar ($4,043.64).
At its regular meeting on Wednesday, Monroe County commissioners approved a reconfiguration and an extension into next year, of a program under which it has already approved distribution of $238,880 to businesses or social service agencies and $85,713 to other taxing units. The distributions were for reimbursements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, commissioners also got an update from township trustees on the status of a $200,000 allocation that has been made to the county’s townships, to help with the amount of township assistance that is being requested by residents for help in paying for rent, utilities and food. Requests have increased because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The township assistance grant is being allocated to the Monroe County Trustees Association in $25,000 increments, based on how much assistance is needed.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Washington Township trustee Barb Ooley told commissioners that out of the first $50,000, all but $73.10 of assistance had been awarded to residents. During the meeting, Ooley made arrangements with commissioners administrator Angie Purdie for the next installment, because the need between now and the end of the year is expected to be critical.
A plexiglass partition on a hinge has been installed at the front of Bloomington Transit buses to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 between passengers and drivers.
On Tuesday, at its regular monthly meeting, the Bloomington Transit board approved an extension of BT’s fare-free policy through Oct. 20.
The fare-free policy started in March, along with rear-door boarding, as a way to reduce passenger-driver interactions and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The regular fare is $1 a ride.
Passengers can now board through the front door. A plexiglass partition on a hinge has been installed in buses to form a kind of compartment for the drivers, to reduce the chance of COVID-19 transmission.
Also on Tuesday, the latest numbers reported to the Bloomington Transit (BT) board showed the COVID-19 pandemic’s continued impact on ridership. The lower-ridership trend that started just after Indiana University’s spring break in March has continued through the start of classes this fall.
Ridership has shown incremental gains from month to month since April. But the typical big bump in August is absent this year. Bloomington’s public transit ridership in normal years is roughly 70 percent Indiana University affiliates.