Rural area businesses still waiting on Cares Act funds

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT
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Congress ordered that the State's biggest population centers should get their more than two billion Cares Act funds directly from the US Treasury, but it said the Governor was best suited to distribute another one-point-two billion dollars to the more rural areas.

They are still waiting.

John Meeks, President of the Small County Coalition, said he's very disappointed.

"This money is critical to the small businesses and the people who are self employed."

The same is true in agricultural and tourist dependent Okeechobee County.

Okeechobee County Commissioner Terry Burroughs said "We dumped over forty-one trailers of milk out on to the ground because the processing plant wasn't taking it."

Burroughs also said he has modified a plan developed by Pinellas and Pasco counties to distribute grants to small businesses.

"It affected almost everything in our community for the forty one thousand people that we have in our community."

And in Hardee County, the delay is creating political problems as residents watch grants being given to neighboring Polk County businesses.

Russel Melendy, Hardee County Commissioner, said "It's kind of made some of the local residents here in Hardee county feel like we're not getting treated fairly as the big counties are being treated."

We've asked the Governor's office about the delay. One concern is that if the locals mis-spend the money, the state could be on the hook for it."