County awards $1.7 million in CARES funds

Representatives from Shamokin were among those to accept CARES funds Thursday from the Northumberland County Commissioners. From left, Shamokin City Administrator Robert Slaby, Commissioner Chair Sam Schiccatano, Commissioner Kym Best, Shamokin Mayor John Brown and Commissioner Joe Klebon.

SUNBURY — The Northumberland County Commissioners on Thursday doled out more than $1.7 million in County Relief Block Grant (CRBG) funding through the federal CARES Act to municipalities, schools, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Commissioner Chair Sam Schiccatano said SEDA-COG accepted applications on behalf of the county from the entities applying for the funds.

After SEDA-COG reviewed the applications to see if funding criteria was met, Schiccatano said the commissioners made the final decisions on how to award the funding.

He noted that many municipalities received funding to replace radios and related equipment for police and fire personnel.

"This (pandemic) was a reason to improve communication," Schiccatano said. "A lot of the radios that were replaced were old radios."

Watsontown Borough Manager Jay Jarrett noted the municipality received $17,912 to replace radios in each of the four vehicles used by the Watsontown Police Department.

Milton Borough was awarded $46,967 for radios and related equipment. Borough Manager Jess Novinger said those funds will cover the cost of 10 radios, to be used by the fire and police departments.

Schiccatano noted that $35,000 is listed as being awarded to Riverside for "other" use.

"They already replaced their radios, with their own  money from the municipality," he explained. "Since we were replacing everybody else's (radios), we reimbursed them for the radios they bought themselves." 

Each municipality in the county received a per-capita allotment, with some also receiving funds to cover the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE).

In total, municipalities were awarded $1.4 million.

Watsontown received a per-capita allotment of $2,351.

"We can put that back into our general fund to make up some expenses related to COVID," Jarrett said. 

At the onset of the pandemic, Jarrett said borough employees were divided to work on rotating days to minimize the risk of having all employees needing to quarantine if one was diagnosed with COVID-19.

He noted that employees were paid on days they were asked to not come in to work. Those costs will be covered by the funding received by the borough.

Milton Borough was awarded $7,042 per capita and $642 for PPE.

Novinger said the borough applied to receive $76,000 in funding.

"We had hoped to buy some decontamination machines for our ambulances," she said. "We were hoping to do some technology updates. Our phone system is very antiquated."

The six school districts in the county were awarded a combined $105,220 in funding.

Milton Area School District Superintendent Dr. Cathy Keegan said the $15,080 awarded to the district will be used for educational purposes.

"The pandemic has forced all school districts to look at their instructional models due to virtual instruction," Keegan said. "Our funding may be used to purchase a learning management system and professional development to help us create highly engaging learning environments, while personalizing learning."

Warrior Run Superintendent Dr. Alan Hack offered similar comments on the $12,390 received by his district.

"The school district is grateful for the additional COVID relief and intends on utilizing the funds to assist in sustaining in-person learning while supporting the needs of our remote learners.," Hack said.

The commissioners also awarded $155,184 to non-profit organizations in the county, and $93,832 to businesses.

A breakdown of funds awarded to municipalities is as follows:

• Coal Township, $146,298, radios; $10,383, per capita; and $5,000, PPE.

• Delaware Township, $11,839, radios; $4,489, per capita.

• East Cameron Township, $8,617, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• East Chillisquaque Township, $7,892, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• Herndon, $13,090, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• Jackson Township, $2,000, per capita.

• Jordan Township, $3,946, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• Kulpmont, $45,790, radios; $2,924, per capita.

• Lewis Township, $2,000, per capita.

• Little Mahanoy Township, $30,599, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• Lower Augusta Township, $21,763, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• Lower Mahanoy Township, $4,655, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• Marion Heights, $7,898, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• McEwensville, $2,000, per capita.

• Milton, $46,967, radios; $7,042, per capita; $642, PPE.

• Mount Carmel, $113,756, radios; $5,893, per capita; $139, PPE.

• Mount Carmel Township, $109,503, radios; $3,139 per capita.

• Northumberland, $92,610, radios; $3,804, per capita; $5,000, PPE.

• Point Township, $88,558, radios; $3,685, per capita.

• Ralpho Township, $84,592, radios, $4,321, per capita.

• Riverside, $35,000, other; $2,000, per capita.

• Rockefeller Township, $2,273, per capita.

• Rush Township, $1,767, radios; $2,000, per capita.

• Shamokin, $137,983, radios; $7,374, per capita; $5,000, PPE.

• Shamokin Township, $21,927, radios; $2,407, per capita.

• Snydertown, $2,000, per capita.

• Sunbury, $170,317, radios; $9,905, per capita; $4,440, PPE.

• Turbot Township, $2,000, per capita.

• Turbotville, $2,000, per capita.

• Upper Augusta Township. $14,029.14, radios; $2,586, per capita.

• Upper Mahanoy Township, $2,000, per capita.

• Washington Township, $2,000, per capita.

• Watsontown, $17,912, radios; $2,351, per capita.

• West Cameron Township, $2,351, per capita.

• West Chillisquaque Township, $2,627, per capita.

• Zerbe Township, $51,048, radios; $2,000, per capita; $5,000, PPE.

School district funding was awarded as follows: Line Mountain,  $10,510; Milton, $15,080; Mount Carmel, $14,770; Shamokin, $22,670; Shikellamy, $29,260; Warrior Run, $12,930.

The following Northumberland County businesses were awarded funding: Ale House Bar and Grille, $15,000; Area Services, $8,919; Dries Orchard, $15,000; Hidden Castle Banquet Hall, $9,933; L and N Masser, $1,638; McGuigan's Public House, $15,000; Moyer Electronic, $1,035; Scopelliti Farm, $14,465; Studio 207 Hairstyling, $792; XW Construction, $397; Journey's by Jenn, $160; Heritage Restaurant, $11,489.

Funding was awarded to the following nonprofit organizations in Northumberland County: A&B Children's Theatre, $817; American Legion Post 231 of Kulpmont, $1,253; Central PA Workforce Development, $7,738; Degenstein Community Library, $1,114; Family Care for Children and Youth, $2,490; Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way, $50,000; Greater Susquehanna Valley YMCA, $7,046; HandUP Foundation, $15,557; Kate's Kupboard Food Bank, $34,202; Our Lady of Hope Parish, $1,277; Salvation Army, $25,080; Shamokin-Coal Township Library, $120; St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, $304; St. Patrick's Parish, $387; Watsontown Alliance Church, $6,617. 

The Northumberland County Conservation District has also been awarded $862.

Schiccatano also noted the county previously allocated $1.25 million in CARES funds to expand broadband internet services in the county by upgrading infrastructure.

In total, he said the county was awarded $8.2 million in CARES funds. Aside from approximately $100,000 being paid to SEDA-COG for administration fees, Schiccatano said the remainder of the funds will be placed into a convenience fund to reimburse the county for COVID-related expenses it incurs.

"If we didn't put that into a convenience fund, we would've had to have returned that money," he said.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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