The Lincoln County Commission is taking applications for the second round of CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act reimbursement funding.

Public organizations are eligible for this round of funding, like before. However, this round of funding has been opened up to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

"Any of the organizations that were initially eligible (to receive funding) remain eligible," said Jim Sharp, Lincoln County Emergency Management Director and CARES Act Advisory Committee member. "Additionally, we have opened up the application process to small businesses in Lincoln County that were or continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Small business is a big deal in Lincoln County. The county commissioners and the CARES Act Advisory Committee feel it is critical to support these businesses to the best of our ability, while still remaining within the law as it applies to the CARES Act."

Last month, the Lincoln County Committee issued nine checks totaling $630,951.17 to organizations that had requested reimbursement under the CARES Act based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee. Sharp said the application process remains the same as before, and is just as rigid.

"The qualifications imposed by the CARES Act obviously remain: the need must be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost(s) incurred cannot be accounted for in the organization’s most recent budget, the cost(s) must be incurred on or after March 1, 2020 and CARES Act funding can only be used to reimburse eligible expenses," Sharp said. "Regarding small businesses, the CARES Act Advisory Committee decided to limit CARES Act funding to needs that were not already addressed through other programs such as PPP (the Payroll Protection Program) or EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans). Eligible expenses that might be considered under the CARES Act for Lincoln County small business include rent/lease/mortgage costs and utility costs.

"It is the opinion of the Committee that these costs remained constant for businesses, even as their income decreased, so this is an appropriate use of CARES Act funds."

Despite an increase of novel coronavirus cases in Lincoln County, and across the country, Sharp said all funding recipients should be conservative with the money they receive, because no one knows when - or if - another funding package will be coming soon.

"One of the quickest ways to make oneself look like a fool is to try to predict what the federal government may or may not do," he said. "We just don’t know if additional funding will be forthcoming, and because we don’t know that, the Commission and the Committee feel that we should to our best to put these funds into the hands of the people who need them – the people and organizations for whom they are intended – while remaining compliant with all of the CARES Act rules."

A significant amount of applications are being expected, and have already been received. The deadline for applications is Aug. 15.