Coronavirus Updates

Nitro mayor says more relief funds needed to save small businesses

Local News

NITRO, WV (WOWK) From personal protective equipment to lost revenue many small municipalities are looking for help in the wake of COVID-19.

Tracking expenses related to the pandemic is a new but crucial task for mayors across the country.

In Dunbar, the mayor said the city plans to apply for less than $10,000 in aid to cover personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and lost revenue from canceled events and rentals.

“You can see it is just a spread sheet and anything COVID related is highlighted in yellow,” said Dunbar Mayor Bill Cunningham, holding up a piece of paper used to keep track of expenses that may be reimbursed. But he said while this may satisfy immediate needs there will be long term needs as well.

“What we’ve been talking to the state about is not this $10,000. It is what is going to happen in the next quarter where the businesses have been shut down our biggest revenue is the 1% sales tax plus the B and O tax,” Cunningham said.

The City of Nitro has already applied for reimbursement for personal protective equipment and other expenses through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Then we are notified that we can apply for the same thing through the governor’s office through the CARES Act, which he is allowed to do. He can reimburse personal protective equipment through the CARES Act. So now we are trying to decide which one we want to go with to get the most bang for our buck,” said Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt.

With businesses seeing reduced revenue or closing all together Casebolt said the state should direct some of the money from the CARES Act directly to saving small businesses instead of duplicating resources available through other sources like FEMA.

“The cities need to apply through FEMA. They need to use that CARES Act money to get these small businesses opened back up,” Casebolt said.

It is a concern that will likely be a reality for many communities for months to come.

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