THE ISSUE: CARES funding goes to nonprofits that feed the needy.
OUR OPINION: A good decision.
Getting funding approved through the CARES act into the hands of companies and people suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been uneven and sometimes difficult, but a recent county commission decision to give funds to nonprofits that feed the needy is right on target.
At its last meeting, commissioners unanimously approved giving $50,000 each to five nonprofits that feed the needy. Recipients are the Veterans Coalition, Community Food Bank, Blessings, We Care Food Pantry and the New Church Without Walls.
These organizations do wonderful work year after year, and they have done a remarkable job over the last year. Without their efforts, many Citrus County residents would have faced food insecurity since the pandemic began forcing shutdowns and layoffs.
During the same meeting, the board in a 4-1 vote approved awarding $566,666 each to the cities of Inverness and Crystal River and the county to help with pandemic-related expenses. One commissioner differed with giving equal amounts to each city and to the county on the grounds that the money should have been distributed based on population. The two cities have less than 10% of the total county population.
This position is understandable, particularly in relation to historic underfunding for heavily populated but unincorporated areas such as Beverly Hills. But at the same time, we believe the commission majority was reasonable in its allocation method, because a large number of the small businesses in the county are located in the cities, and many residents from the county regularly travel into the cities for business and government services.
Despite this minor disagreement about how funds are allocated, in the big picture the commission was correct in seeking to get the funding out. This funding is intended to help people affected by the pandemic, and the sooner it is in those hands, the better. People and businesses in the county are hurting, and any way they get assistance is welcome
Like enlisting the assistance of nonprofits and the chamber in getting funds to those in need, this decision is one more way of putting the funds to work doing what they were intended to do.