Jackson County claims more than $81M of CARES Act money now budgeted

Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 19:23:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County has now budgeted now roughly two-thirds of the federal CARES Act funds it received from the state of Missouri in early May.

The county announced Wednesday that it has distributed more than $81 million from the $122.7 million it was allotted more than three-and-a-half months ago — though the county’s online CARES Act Fund tracker showed that, while $81.6 million had been budgeted so far, only $27.2 million had actually been distributed early Wednesday night.

According to the county’s tracking tool, $32.4 million has been budgeted for Truman Medical Center with another $18.9 million earmarked for the city of Kansas City, Missouri, and its health department.

The city’s primary hospital plans to purchase 20 ventilators, increase the number of “negative pressure” rooms, boost its testing capacity and buy more air-purifying respirators with some of its money.

The county said in its release that a contract with KCMO was signed and executed on Tuesday.

Several other municipalities also are slated to receive a chunk of CARES Act money to help pay for personal safety equipment and cleaning supplies among other needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Independence, $7 million
  • Lee’s Summit, $5.9 million
  • Blue Springs, $3.3 million
  • Raytown, $1.7 million
  • Grandview, $1.5 million
  • Grain Valley, $865,700
  • Oak Grove, $492,200
  • Greenwood, $347,600
  • Sugar Creek, $13,000
  • Lone Jack, $5,100

“Supporting all our communities has been the centerpiece of the Legislature’s response efforts,” Jackson County Legislative Chairman Theresa Galvin said in a statement. “We are committed to doing all we can to help our cities adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and prepare for a strong recovery.”

The only other budgeted seven-figure expenditure is $5 million for the Jackson County Health Department primarily for testing and contact tracing, among other needs.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and several local fire departments also received smaller expenditures to help reimburse them for costs associated with the COVID-19 response.

Harvesters Community Food Network is in line to receive $500,000.

Despite complaints for numerous city officials, including KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas and Independence Mayor Eileen Weir, county officials defended the months-long process for distributing more than 66% of its CARES Act allotment, which must be allocated during 2020 under federal rules governing the money’s use.

“We have acted as quickly as possible to get these funds in the hands of the communities and programs who need them, while ensuring the money will be used appropriately and in accordance with federal rules,” Jackson County Administrator Troy Schulte said in a statement. “This has never been about politics or using the money as a political football. It has been and always will be about protecting the health and well-being of our friends, family and neighbors from a virus that knows no race, age or community boundaries.”