Decatur receives $2.9 million in Coronavirus relief funds

Decatur City Hall. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC
Decatur City Hall. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

Decatur recently learned it’s receiving $2,914,440 from the Coronavirus Relief Fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act.

Nearly a third of that, or $905,000, is earmarked towards reimbursing the city for its public safety payroll, or “pandemic pay” for essential workers like fire personnel, police and sanitation workers. A portion of that money will also go towards furloughed employees.

But City Manager Andrea Arnold said she’d also like to use part of those funds to expand the Emergency Small Business Loan Program Decatur created in April and implemented in June.

The money comes out of DeKalb County’s total $125,341,475.20 allotment of CARES funds. The County qualified for the funds directly from the federal government based on its unincorporated population and the population of its cities except Atlanta.

Through an intergovernmental agreement between the county and its cities, $32.6 million will get distributed among the cities on a per capita basis.

A partial list of Decatur’s proposed list of spending items:

*$905, 000 towards the above-mentioned public-safety payroll.

*$700,000 towards Operations/Facilities/technology expenses including the purchase of personal protection equipment, cleaning supplies, plexi glass for indoor spaces and remote IT tools.

*$975,000 towards small business relief, possible grants to non-profits and installing tables, chairs and umbrellas on the MARTA plaza where restaurant patrons can eat after picking up to-go food.

The total money initially available in the city’s Emergency Small Business Loan Program was $550,000 that went to 27 businesses chosen by lottery. But 45 companies completed applications requesting a total $808,500 in loans. Arnold says she hopes the CARES funds can go to many of those business that didn’t originally make the lottery cut.

Of those original 45 applications, 29 percent were restaurants/pubs, 23 percent “retail service,” 20 percent “general retail,” 13 percent consultant and professional service, 7 percent health and beauty retail, 4 percent healthcare and 4 percent online and media.

Arnold added she would provide the commission monthly updates on how the CARES funds are spent.

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