Union County Board of Commissioners accepts COVID-19 grant

·2 min read

Jan. 7—LA GRANDE — Union County businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic will be receiving a financial boost later this year.

The Union County Board of Commissioners voted on Wednesday, Jan. 5, to accept a $500,000 Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund grant from the state. The funding is federal money being distributed by the state.

As the board of commissioners earlier told State Rep. Bobby Levy, R-Echo, the county will spend the $500,000 on helping businesses that are struggling because of the pandemic, according to Union County Commissioner Donna Beverage.

Levy's legislative district received $2 million in Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund grant funds. The state representative was responsible for determining how the funding was allocated. Levy determined that Union and Wallowa counties would each get $500,000 and that Umatilla County would receive $1 million, Beverage said.

The board of commissioners will soon begin deciding how the funding will be distributed.

"We will be setting guidelines," Beverage said.

Union County Commissioner Paul Anderes is glad to have the opportunity to help businesses in Union County.

"We want to use it to help support businesses in every part of the county," he said.

While some local business are thriving, including those in the trucking industry, Beverage said there is a strong need for the latest grant because many businesses, including a number of restaurants, are struggling.

The commissioner said a process similar to one followed a year ago when Union County also received a Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund grant may be followed when establishing guidelines. The 2021 grant was for a little more than $700,000 and businesses hurt by COVID-19 were able to apply for assistance. A total of 94 Union County businesses received funding from that grant.

The Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund grant program is a part of the American Rescue Plan, which is delivering $350 billion to state, local and Tribal governments across the country to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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