October 17, 2020

Mallory Herrmann
Staff Reporter

The city council has voted to allocate an additional $150,000 in CARES Act funding to local nonprofit organizations.

The council’s finance and budget committee reviewed the revised applications at their Oct. 12 meeting. City staff had worked with applicants after a lengthy council discussion last month in which councilmembers suggested that additional funding be made available to such organizations.

City staff worked with applicants to identify eligible uses of the funding and to reapply. They received about $225,000 in requests and recommended approval of $132,608.28, after determining some expenses as ineligible.

Lee’s Summit was assigned about $5.9 million in funding by Jackson County in June. Those dollars were made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a federal economic stimulus tool approved by Congress. The funds must meet specific eligibility requirements related to the impact of the COVID-19, including medical, public health and economic support expenses.

Of that sum, $560,000 was set aside as grant funding for small businesses and nonprofit organizations who have faced business interruption due to the pandemic. After the council approved disbursement of $335,000 to 13 organizations at their Sept. 14 session, an additional $150,000 was identified to support organizations who have lost revenue due to cancelled events or who have incurred unplanned expenditures to support remote technology.

Among those approved applications are Summit Art, whose annual art fest was canceled, the Lee’s Summit Chamber, who lost revenue with the cancelation of Oktoberfest, the Lee’s Summit Symphony, whose fall concert was canceled, and Lee’s Summit CARES, who had to cancel multiple events.

The remaining $17,391.72 will be allocated to Velocity Lee’s Summit, Inc., a nonprofit economic development agency for small business grants. Velocity is acting as a third-party administrator for the city, disbursing grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses in Lee’s Summit. The council previously approved $225,000 in CARES Act funding toward that program.

The finance and budget committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of the disbursements at their Oct. 12 meeting. The full city council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance at their Oct. 13 meeting.

Councilmember Andrew Felker recused himself from the discussion at both meetings, citing a potential conflict of interest due to his employment with a law firm that works with one of the applicants. Councilmember Bob Johnson was absent from the meeting with the full council.