The application process is now open for youth sports organizations and municipalities to obtain Luzerne County’s coronavirus assistance funding, county Manager C. David Pedri announced Friday.
County officials opted to earmark $5 million for all 76 municipalities based on a per-capita formula to help cover their expenses for coronavirus planning, preparation or response. Another $400,000 also has been set aside for youth sports leagues to purchase hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment or other safety equipment to continue programs in the pandemic.
The money the county is providing came from its $28.6 million share of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding dispersed through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
This money must be spent by the end of the year, and receipts and invoices will be required before payment to verify the funding is used for eligible coronavirus expenses.
Applications for the Municipal Assistance Program and Youth Sports Assistance Program are posted on the main page at www.luzernecounty.org, and applications also will be mailed to every municipality, Pedri said.
Each municipality has a maximum allocation it can receive based on a formula of approximately $15.73 per resident, Pedri said.
For example, Dallas borough will be eligible for $43,714, while Wilkes-Barre’s budget is set at approximately $642,208.
Pedri reiterated the requirement to use the funds for coronavirus planning/preparation/response, saying the money cannot be provided to cover general operating costs or replace revenue lost from decreased fees or delayed tax payments in the pandemic.
“Our municipalities are on the front lines every day fighting this virus,” Pedri said in the release. “I know that these needed funds will provide the support our first responders and public servants need to do their jobs safely and help our community.”
These grants will go to nonprofit or not-for-profit recreational leagues and organizations.
In addition to funding sanitizer and personal protective equipment, the money may be used to defray the cost of creating safe programming and implement disinfection strategies and socially-distanced sport stations within local parks, Pedri said.
The funds cannot be used for general league operation expenses, and the maximum grant will be $2,000 per league, he said.
“I’ve been lucky to be able to serve as a coach and volunteer for years for my children’s teams, so I’ve been able to see first hand the benefits of teamwork and cooperation that our many youth leagues teach every day” Pedri said. “This program will make sure that should a Luzerne County league want to reopen their activities, they will have the necessary funding to do it safely in this COVID-19 world.”
In the coming days, the county also will announce procedures for small businesses, nonprofits, human service providers and other entities to apply for different pots of county coronavirus grant funding, he said.
The county is providing $10 million for economic development/tourism/small business assistance, with the lion’s share going to county restaurants, stores and other “mom and pop” operations employing 25 or less.
Economic development organization Penn’s Northeast will be overseeing the grants to businesses and must set up a system to accept applications and respond to questions, Pedri said.
Millions of dollars also will be available for nonprofits and human service providers assisting people with food and other needs during the pandemic.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.