The Harvey County Commission approved the first two sets of grants for private organizations from SPARKS/CARES Act funds on Tuesday.


"The CARES task force has done a wonderful job, and so has our staff, spending endless hours on this," said Commissioner Randy Hague.


The commission approved nearly $868,000 in grant awards Tuesday.


The county designated about $2.5 million for Phase 2 funding — funding for private organizations and businesses affected by COVID-19 and mitigation efforts.


The county received more than $7.5 million in funds earlier this year, with the majority of those funds granted to municipalities and governmental organizations.


For Phase 2, the county approved five different funding programs: public health, community support, community testing, private school and college support, long-term care support and senior center sustainability.


The commission approved more than $252,000 in grants — of $300,000 available — under a long-term care support program. Organizations receiving funding included Presbyterian Manor ($46,100), Ember Hope ($16,680), Schowalter Villa ($75,000), Kidron Bethel Village ($48,453) and Halstead Health and Rehab ($39,551).


The commission also approved more than $615,700 in grants for testing supplies and equipment under the community testing program — of $1 million available. Organizations funded under the program included Friends of Kansas Christian Home ($147,000), Halstead Health and Rehab ($39,825), Bethel College ($28,957.23), Kidron Bethel ($175,000) and Schowalter Villa ($225,000).


"No applications exceeded the amount of funding available," said Anthony Swartzendruber, county administrator.


The county is putting plans in place for unspent funds, with the guidance of the state SPARKS committee.


The county CARES committee will be meeting again this week to review applications and programs.


"It is a time consuming process to go through these grant applications and make sure all the documentation is in place," Swartzendruber said.


Reports due to the state are now due Jan. 6 — a change from Jan. 30.


"We will likely tell our recipients that what they receive now needs to be spent by Dec. 23," Swartzendruber said.


SPARKS/CARES fund phase II programs remaining (with total funds available) include:


Public Health Grant Program ($732,234.76)


For small businesses (as defined by the federal government), nonprofits, churches or quasi-governmental organizations in Harvey County. This program provides reimbursement for personal protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene supplies, IT improvements to support telework enhancements or online service delivery, utilities and/or rent, small capital improvements that promote social distancing, and mental health accessibility.


Community Support Grant Program ($100,000)


For non-profits, churches, or quasi-governmental organizations in Harvey County. This program provides reimbursement for subsistence activities for populations in need or at risk for COVID-19. Subsistence activities include but are not limited to providing food, basic consumables, and rent/utility assistance programs targeting those who are in need or at risk for COVID-19.


Private Schools and Colleges Support Program ($350,000)


For private schools (K-12) and colleges located in Harvey County. This program provides reimbursement for personal protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene supplies, IT improvements for telework enhancements or online service delivery, utilities and/or rent, small capital improvements that promote social distancing, and mental health accessibility.


Senior Center Sustainment Program ($90,000)


For senior centers located in Harvey County serving at-risk populations. This program provides reimbursement for personal protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene supplies, IT improvements for telework enhancements or online service delivery, utilities and/or rent, small capital improvements that promote social distancing, and mental health accessibility. This program also can account for lost revenue between March 1 and Dec. 30.


In other business, the commission:


• Approved appointment of Jennifer Foster to the Harvey/McPherson Community Corrections Advisory Board.


• Approved appointment of Jennifer Foster to the Harvey/McPherson Community Corrections Advisory Board and Carolyn Schwab to the Harvey County Parks Advisory Board.


• Learned that an application to the planning and zoning board for a horse racing track and training facility near Halstead was rejected following a public hearing of the zoning board.


• The annual Trappers Rendezvous is planned for January at West Park by the Quivira Boy Scout Council. If the county chooses to not host the event this year, the council will find another location for the event. The organization is creating a COVID-19 prevention plan for the event. The council expects about 2,000 registrants for the event, and bring participants from multiple states.


• Received a quarterly financial report.