Umatilla County authorities to obtain $15.12 million in federal stimulus cash | Coronavirus

PENDLETON – Umatilla County’s government will receive $ 15.12 million from the latest federal stimulus package in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a database made available to EO Media Group, cities in Umatilla County are receiving a total of around $ 11.36 million. The funds are distributed by the population to each city, with the largest amounts going to Hermiston ($ 3.62 million) and Pendleton ($ 3.42 million).

Umatilla County officials said there are no plans for the county-level use of the funds. The county is expected to receive the first half of the funds in May with the remaining half about a year later, commissioners said.

“I was overwhelmed when I first saw how much we would get as a county,” said John Shafer, Umatilla county commissioner. “We can do a lot with this kind of money. We can make many positive changes. “

Umatilla County commissioners said discussions about where to go to fund have barely started.

“We’re really getting definitions of how it might be spent right now,” said Commissioner George Murdock, adding that the funds will go straight to the county rather than going through Salem, “where we might get some of it and maybe.” Not.”

The funds come from the US rescue plan approved by Congress on March 10th. At $ 1.9 trillion, this is one of the greatest poverty alleviation efforts in American history, aimed at fueling economic recovery in response to the pandemic and helping vulnerable Americans. Republican lawmakers largely oppose the bill for their liberal policies, according to the Associated Press.

According to the New York Times, the plan is set to not only provide hundreds of millions of Americans with one-time payments of $ 1,400 and unemployment benefits of $ 300 per week, but also to reduce national poverty by a third this year. Child poverty is also expected to be cut in half through a number of measures including expanding rental subsidies, grocery stamps, and tax credits for Americans with children.

“We now have an opportunity to benefit Oregon families and businesses by immediately investing state and federal resources to help them recover from the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Kate Brown early on this month about the plan.

Oregon’s state and local governments are expected to receive more than $ 4 billion from the plan. Brown has established principles that state that the funds should not only contribute to economic recovery, but also eliminate the existing inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic, especially those related to gender and racial differences.

Although there are still concrete plans of all kinds to be made in Umatilla County, commissioners had some rough ideas about how the funds could be used, such as improving infrastructure and servicing the public health payments that have accumulated during the pandemic.

“The cost of running public health in Umatilla County has been significantly higher than on a normal basis over the past year,” Murdock said, noting that the health department currently has more than twice as many employees. “We’ll be able to use some of that money to offset the cost we had.”

Murdock said COVID-19 vaccinations in particular will be a “monumental task” for the county if all Americans over the age of 18 qualify for the Biden government’s May 1 target.

On the infrastructure front, Murdock and Shafer said the county may make changes and improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning in older buildings, which Murdock said is “specifically outlined in these funds.”

“It will be able to help us make some modernizations that we generally don’t have the resources to do in order to create a healthier environment,” he said.

Shafer said past budget negotiations explored the central water project near Hermiston, a pipeline that will deliver water from the Columbia River to farmland near Boardman that could enable economic growth. Shafer added that mental health services are also likely to be a “key factor” in the funding discussions.

Commissioner Dan Dorran said he would largely not speculate on how the funds might be used, stressing that “we have no money until it is in the bank”. However, Dorran said he had calls from special districts inquiring about the money.

“We need this discussion of what stimuli mean for the commissioners,” he said, adding that the commissioners “have no idea what the technical constraints will be (the funding). We heard it will be flexible, but We will only know that when we see the guidelines. “

Both Shafer and Murdock said they don’t want to use the money to add staff because the money is temporary.

“The (county) is not going to use the money to hire more staff,” Murdock said. “This is a one-time funding and if we hire more people next year we will of course say, ‘Oops, we don’t have that income. ‘And that doesn’t make sense. Whatever we do, there will be no spending coming home to sleep if the money doesn’t come in. “

Shafer said he wants the county residents to know that the commissioners “want to be good stewards of the money and that we are getting the most out of the deal for our money.” Shafer said discussions about the county’s use of the funds will most likely begin in mid-April.

“We don’t want to spend it lightly,” he said. “We want it to benefit Umatilla County as a whole.”

Some Small Companies Nonetheless Struggling to Safe Federal Authorities Cash – NBC Los Angeles

Last year the federal government pumped billions of dollars into small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program helped save thousands of businesses, but others struggled to secure money.

The government is releasing an additional amount of PPP money to these companies, and our I-Team has learned that some are still struggling to get the help they desperately need.

Cristian Pellegrini owns three Menchie’s frozen yogurt stores. When the pandemic hit last year, he closed his shops for two months.

“As for Menchie’s income, there was absolutely no income, so we had to use our reserves and savings,” said Pellegrini.

According to Pellegrini, business has slowly picked up since then, but sales are still half what they were before. He says his PPP loan – which is forgivable when the money is spent on things like payroll and rent – was a lifesaver.

“We are incredibly grateful because otherwise we would have closed our doors a long time ago,” said Pellegrini.

At first the PPP was plagued by problems. Big companies like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and the Lakers have devoured huge amounts of PPP money, while small companies have struggled to get some. In fact, an I-Team analysis of the program found that more than 3,000 California small businesses were getting $ 1,000 or less. Two local companies received just $ 1. Under public pressure, Ruth’s Chris and the Lakers returned their PPP money.

And now that the federal government is releasing the second round of PPP money, changes have been made to the program that will allow small businesses like Pellegrini to qualify for more money. Some changes also apply retrospectively to the first loan. But the problem: Pellegrini says his bank, City National Bank, won’t be making the changes to help him.

“It’s a huge sum of money for us small businesses. It’s $ 14,000. And I know that isn’t a lot of money for a lot of people, but it keeps my people busy for two weeks.” said Pellegrini.

Beth Milito of the National Federation of Independent Business says she hears from other small businesses who are struggling to get their banks to make the new changes.

“I have the rule here and I understand I can use this method, but my bank is telling me they don’t know how to do it or they haven’t upgraded yet,” Milito said.

Team I asked City National Bank if they were looking at Pellegrini’s loan. It told us it doesn’t comment on customer credit. Pellegrini has not heard from them.

“For me it’s the principle,” said Pellegrini. “It’s about waiting for something you’ve already done for the customer. In this case, I feel ignored, left alone.” Pellegrini requested a second

PPP loan from another lender. He is determined to look to the future with hope.

“I am completely confident that things will get better,” he said. “I believe in the small business, I believe in mechies, I believe in the community.” Small despite the problems

Business lawyers encourage business owners to apply for a loan. Congress has just postponed the application deadline to May 31st.

Letter: The federal government is handing out cash to individuals who do not want it

L’absurdite ‘is French for “absurdity”.

The latest partisan absurdity to come out of Washington is putting the federal teat in the mouth of those who don’t need it. That is, checks for $ 1,400 each go to individuals earning up to $ 6,250 per month ($ 75,000 per year) or individual householders earning $ 9,333 per month ($ 112,000 per year). These numbers refer to the “Adjusted Gross Income” on your federal tax forms. These will only “expire” after $ 6,666 per month ($ 80,000 per year) or $ 10,000 per month ($ 120,000 per year) for individuals.

For those filing together, the full check amounts go to couples earning up to $ 12,500 per month ($ 150,000 per year). These “run out” at $ 13,333 per month ($ 160,000 per year).

At least the claim of our current POTUS to be bipartisan on issues of national importance has been exposed for what it was. I don’t have a problem with making decent payments to people who need it, but that’s absurd.

Mark Hanlon lives in Bismarck.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the forum’s editors or the forum owners.

Unemployed employees are hit with one other shock: Many owe the federal government cash for medical insurance

According to the federal government, Ryan made too much money off unemployment. It was more money than she would have made as a preschool teacher, and it bumped her into a different income bracket that reduced her insurance subsidy under the Affordable Care Act. Desperate to keep health insurance in the middle of the pandemic, she’s trying to figure out how to pay the big bill.

“Where do I get all the money to pay back during the pandemic?” said Ryan, 50, who lives in Bergen County, New Jersey. “What did you expect from us? Drop Obamacare During Pandemic? “

Ryan is one of the million Americans facing surprisingly high tax burdens amid a global health crisis. She was finally able to go back to work in a daycare center but says she doesn’t have $ 3,100. She used the savings she had to move from Pennsylvania to New Jersey when a job opened in her field.

“We’re just trying to get back on our feet and we’re now overwhelmed with all the bills we owe,” said Ryan, who lives with her boyfriend.

Congress is trying to fix this problem so that low-income Americans won’t drop their health insurance because they can’t afford it. The $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package, expected to be passed in mid-March, would forgive these tax burdens. (According to an agreement reached late Friday, households earning less than $ 150,000 would also save taxes on the first $ 10,200 in unemployment income.)

Politicians and health experts say the United States needs to keep as many people as possible covered by health insurance during the deadly pandemic. But this subsidy problem that Ryan and millions of others are now facing makes it difficult.

Low-income workers and the self-employed typically turn to the Affordable Care Act marketplaces for health insurance. If workers earn between $ 18,000 and $ 51,000, they’re eligible for a government grant to make plans more affordable. The catch, however, comes if they got health insurance in November or December 2019 – before the pandemic became a national emergency.

People like Ryan estimated their earnings for 2020 and were far from it, largely because of the additional $ 600 a week Congress made available to the unemployed from April to July. Workers such as preschool teachers, teaching assistants, waiters and the self-employed often benefited more from unemployment than from their regular work last spring. Now they owe money to the government to repay some of their health grants.

This happens to some low-income Americans every year, but experts say it is particularly common now that the livelihoods of so many people have been dramatically disrupted.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, around 3.2 million low-income Americans owed the state money for their health grants in 2018 Data. That number is expected to be over 5 million, according to 2020 Estimates from the Joint Tax Committee and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“This just goes to show how complicated it is to subsidize people’s health care through the tax system,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president of health policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation. “In the midst of the enormous uncertainty for the people, it would certainly be helpful if they didn’t have to pay back subsidies for having misreported their income.”

According to the economic stimulus plan, everyone who is unemployed will automatically qualify for the full health insurance subsidy in 2021. If the legislation goes into effect, these Americans won’t get a shock tax bill next year, and they should be able to afford health insurance by now.

Lawyers for the poor hailed these recent initiatives by Congress and the White House, but complained that it had taken lawmakers a year to figure out how to help.

“We have been in a pandemic since March, and nothing has been done by Congress to bring more people to health insurance,” said Tara Straw, a senior health policy analyst at the left-wing Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

And while there’s a solution along the way, some Americans like Shawn McCreary of Doylestown, Pennsylvania have already paid their taxes – and the credit fine for health insurance.

“That year, I owed $ 3,565 in federal taxes, of which $ 1,300 apparently came from” overpaying “the health exchange because my unemployment was higher than my planned income in November 2019,” McCreary said. “That was a complete surprise to me.”

McCreary, 36, is a special education teacher. He was working as a replacement when the pandemic closed due to the pandemic last March. Since he was a substitute teacher, he was not on the school district’s insurance plan. He had taken out insurance through the health insurance company and said he had even tried to overestimate his 2020 income so as not to pay a fine later, but he was unemployed for most of the year.

As an asthmatic, McCreary already has huge health bills. He was also careful returning to the classroom until he was vaccinated. His grandmother died of Covid-19 in July.

“The pandemic really changed my life from top to bottom,” said McCreary. “I don’t have $ 3,500 to just give back to the government. I almost wish they had paid me less to start with. “

McCreary filed his taxes last month and started a payment plan with the IRS. He will likely have to file an amended statement when Congress passes the stimulus bill that waives the money he owes for the health grant.

For the unemployed, this is another turn in a tough year. Health experts say they just hope the stimulus will go away soon and people will realize they can refill.

Seven Midcoast faculties, districts obtain extra COVID-19 support; 4 return cash to the federal government

AUGUSTA – Several schools and school districts across the state appear to have returned some of the COVID-19 aid made available to them by the Maine Department of Education, while several other schools and school districts received additional aid thanks to a reallocation of funds.

In late November, reported that 34 midcoast schools and school districts combined are receiving a total of $ 23,360,144.66 in educational aid going to Counties of Knox, Lincoln and Waldo.

Originally, three regional educational institutions appeared on the list of award winners and no longer on the list, indicating their award amounts have been returned: Damariscotta Montessori ($ 5,153.00), Jefferson ($ 486,919.42), and Riley School (527.16 USD).

In addition, Nobleboro previously received two awards: a first round award for $ 168,001.97 and a second round award for $ 177,949.03. The latter award no longer appears in the list of allocated funds.

Seven educational institutions in the region received reallocated funds that were distributed after funds were returned by other educational institutions.

Edgecomb received $ 137,217.42 in reallocated funds, in addition to the $ 132,977.40 in round one and $ 140,861.55 in round two for a newly updated total of $ 411,056.37.

Monhegan received $ 6,243.37 in reallocated funds on top of the $ 6,610.91 received in the second round of funding for a newly updated total of $ 12,854.28.

MSAD 40 received $ 483,186.00 in reallocated funds, in addition to $ 1,615,465.22 in round one, $ 1,697,448.42 in round two, $ 2,995.99 for adult education, and $ 51,800 for day programs for a newly updated Sum of $ 3,850,895.63.

RSU 12 received $ 125,000 in reallocated funds, in addition to $ 834,625.89 in round one, $ 877,223.97 in round two, and $ 413.24 in adult education for a newly updated amount of 1,837 $ 263.10.

RSU 53 received $ 25,000 in reallocated funds, in addition to $ 557,002.36 in round one and $ 585,183.72 in round two for a newly updated total of $ 1,167,186.08.

Watershed received $ 1,510.33 in reallocated funds, in addition to the $ 1,581.47 received in round two for a newly updated sum of $ 3,091.80.

Wayfinder received $ 3,500 in reallocated funds, in addition to the $ 12,219.07 in round one and $ 12,918.60 in round two for a newly updated amount of $ 28,637.68.

The Maine Department of Education’s Safe Return to School Funding Program was established to help Maine schools ensure a safe and healthy return to face-to-face teaching for the 2020-2021 school year.

Appropriate schools and school districts had to develop three different lesson plans (remote, hybrid, and face-to-face) in order to be adequately prepared for the uncertain evolution of COVID-19.

Educational institutions are facing unprecedented and therefore not budgeted expenses and logistical hurdles, according to a DOE memo.

As such, education allowances can cover expenses such as:

• Changes to transportation and facilities to enable social distancing and to comply with health and safety guidelines

• Increased need for cleaning agents

• Additional classroom and hand washing stations

• Contracted services to meet additional custody needs, tutoring, intervention services, grant administration and medical staff

• Increased need for replacement, technology, connectivity, student learning assessments, COVID-19 communications, student resources, and signage

• Professional development for educators and staff who need to be fluent in hybrid and distance learning models to accommodate all students

These funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund have “provided immediate and critical funding for the time-sensitive procurement of specific resources that enabled eligible entities to plan and implement thoughtful strategies and support to ensure the safe and timely reopening of Maine schools,” reads a letter from the Maine Department of Education.

The funds allocated for each educational institution must be used when the necessary expenses have been incurred due to COVID-19. not included in the budget last approved on March 27; and were created between March 1st and December 30th.

In order to promote both efficiency and equity, the Ministry of Education, according to the letter, has developed a funding distribution formula that is based on the number of students and is adjusted to a variety of factors (e.g. special education, English learners and number of homeless students, small / rural) school adaptation etc.).

Educational institutions could also receive funding for their adult education programs and day programs for school-age children.

For the latter, districts or schools used day program funds either to establish their own programs or to work with local community organizations such as a local YMCA, boys and girls club, or parks and recreation department to mentor students in the area.